Self-reported asthma and health-related quality of life: findings from the behavioral risk factor surveillance system

Chest. 2003 Jan;123(1):119-27. doi: 10.1378/chest.123.1.119.


Study objectives: Few population-based data regarding the impact of asthma on health-related quality of life in the US adult population are available.

Design: Cross-sectional study of participants in 50 states in the United States.

Setting: Using data from 163,773 adult respondents in the 2000 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, we examined how self-reported asthma is associated with general self-reported health and four health-related quality-of-life measures.

Results: Participants with self-reported current asthma reported significantly more age-adjusted physically unhealthy days (6.5 days vs 2.9 days, p < 0.001), mentally unhealthy days (5.2 days vs 3.0 days, p < 0.001), days with activity limitation (3.7 days vs 1.6 days, p < 0.001), and unhealthy physical or mental days (10.0 days vs 5.4 days, p < 0.001) in the last 30 days than participants who never had asthma. After adjusting for age, sex, race or ethnicity, educational attainment, employment status, smoking status, physical activity status, and body mass index, the odds ratios among persons with asthma compared with persons who never had asthma, were 2.41 (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.21 to 2.63) for reporting poor or fair self-rated health, 2.26 (95% CI, 2.06 to 2.49) for reporting >or= 14 days of impaired physical health during the previous 30 days, 1.55 (95% CI, 1.40 to 1.72) for reporting >or= 14 days of poor mental health during the previous 30 days, 1.96 (95% CI, 1.73 to 2.21) for reporting >or= 14 activity limitation days, and 1.99 (95% CI, 1.84 to 2.15) for reporting >or= 14 days of physically or mentally unhealthy days during the previous 30 days. Results were consistent for all age groups, for both sexes, and for all race or ethnic groups. Participants who did not currently have asthma, but had it previously, reported having more unhealthy days with all four measures than participants who never had asthma, but fewer than participants who currently had asthma.

Conclusions: These results provide additional measures to evaluate and monitor the impact of asthma on the health of the US adult population.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma* / epidemiology
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life*