Programme no. 142-OP
Public Health
Longitudinal trends in good self-rated health: effects of age and birth cohort in a 25-year follow-up study in Sweden
Sven-Erik Johansson1, Jan Sundquist2, Patrik Midlöv3, Kristina Sundquist4, Susanna Calling*5
1Center for Primary Health Care Research,Department of Clinical Sciences in Malmö, Lund University,Malmö,Sweden, 2Center for Primary Health Care Research,Department of Clinical Sciences in Malmö, Lund University,Malmö,Sweden, 3Center for Primary Health Care Research,Department of Clinical Sciences in Malmö, Lund University,Malmö,Sweden, 4Center for Primary Health Care Research,Department of Clinical Sciences in Malmö, Lund University,Malmö,Sweden, 5Center for Primary Health Care Research,Department of Clinical Sciences in Malmö, Lund University,Malmö,Sweden
* = Presenting author
Objectives:

We analyzed longitudinal trends in SRH between 1980/81 and 2004/05 in age and birth cohort subgroups.

Background: Although average life expectancy has increased considerably in Sweden, there is less evidence for improved self-rated health (SRH).
Results:

During the 25-year follow-up, SRH improved in individuals aged ≥48 years, but became poorer or was unchanged in those aged 16-47 years. All birth cohorts showed poorer SRH with increasing age, with an adjusted odds ratio (95% confidence interval) of 0.94 (0.93-0.95) in males and 0.92 (0.91-0.93) in females.

Material/Methods:

2728 males and 2770 females, aged 16-71 years, were interviewed every eighth year. Mixed models with random intercepts were used to estimate changes in SRH within different age groups and birth cohorts, adjusting for potential confounders.

Conclusion: While SRH in the older age groups improved, SRH became poorer in the youngest. Poorer SRH is deeply worrying for the affected individuals, and may also have a negative impact on the health care system.
Points for discussion: Although mental illness, socioeconomic factors, and lifestyle may be potential mechanisms, future studies are needed to investigate the reasons behind this trend.

Further research is needed to determine whether this negative trend continues and whether it also exists in other countries.

Interventions in this area should focus on younger adults, especially females.