Background: Few studies have examined the association of perceived health with socio-economic status, especially income, and social isolation and support in Japan. The purpose of this study is to clarify the associations among perceived health, lifestyle, and socio-economic status, as well as social isolation and support factors, in middle-aged and elderly Japanese.
Methods: Subjects were 9,650 participants aged 47-77 years who completed a self-administered questionnaire in 2000 in the second survey of a population-based cohort (the Komo-Ise study). The questionnaire included items on sociodemographic and socio-economic factors, social isolation and support, lifestyle, past history of chronic disease and perceived health. Perceived health was dichotomized into excellent or good health and fair or poor health. A logistic regression analysis was used to determine the odds ratios of socio-economic status, social characteristics and lifestyle in relation to self-reported fair or poor health.
Results: We found that household income, physical activity, sleeping, smoking habit, and BMI had a strong association with self-reported fair or poor health in middle-aged and elderly Japanese men and women. Male subjects tended to report fair or poor health as household income decreased. The results for women differed in that social isolation and low social support had a stronger association for self-reported fair or poor health than low household income.
Conclusions: The results indicated that perceived health was associated with socio-economic and social characteristics among middle-aged and elderly residents in Japan.