Facts About Health-Related Quality of Life in Puerto Rico, 1996-2000
Telephone interviews with a representative sample of Spanish-speaking adults in Puerto Rico about health-related quality of life (HRQOL) from 1996-2000 found that older women, those with less education or lower income, the unemployed, and persons who were overweight or had diabetes or high blood pressure reported more unhealthy days during the past month.
Overall, 34% of Puerto Rican adults rated their health as fair or poor. Adults who rated their health as fair or poor also reported more days when they were physically unhealthy, mentally unhealthy, either physically or mentally unhealthy, or limited in activity than Puerto Ricans who rated their health as good, very good, or excellent.
The number of unhealthy days per month was substantially higher for women than men in all age groups. Unhealthy days peaked in 1998 and 1999, but did not change significantly over time.
Younger men (age 18-44) living in the island’s metropolitan or eastern regions reported the fewest unhealthy days per month (2.9); older women (65 or older) living in the northern region had the most unhealthy days per month (9.8).
Adults who reported exercising in the past month or who never smoked cigarettes reported fewer unhealthy days than those who did not exercise or than those who have smoked.
Puerto Ricans reported more days when their activities were limited in 1998-2000 (2.7) than in 1996-1997 (1.7).
HRQOL is defined as "an individual’s or group’s perceived physical and mental health over time." Assessing HRQOL is important for these reasons:
Several studies have found that self-rated health is a powerful predictor of future life expectancy.
Public health officials can use findings about HRQOL from community health surveys to identify unmet health care or public health needs among different populations.
Findings can be used to help make decisions about allocating resources, planning programs and services, and evaluating the impact of community health improvement efforts.
The report will be online on February 28, 2002, at: http://www2.cdc.gov/mmwr/mmwr_wk.html. For more information about CDC's HRQOL findings, including state and community health profiles, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/hrqol.