Housing quality and ill health in a disadvantaged urban community

Public Health. 2009 Feb;123(2):174-81. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2008.11.002. Epub 2009 Feb 7.


Objectives: This study examined the association between housing quality and chronic illness among household members in the little investigated, underserved urban communities in Hay el Sellom, one of the largest informal settlements on the outskirts of Beirut, Lebanon.

Study design: A population-based cross-sectional survey.

Methods: Face-to-face interviews were conducted to obtain the required information on 3881 individuals of all age groups in 788 households. Housing quality was measured using infrastructure and services, and housing conditions. Ill health was measured by the reporting of chronic illnesses. A multivariate regression model using the Generalized Estimation was used to analyse the association between ill health and housing quality, controlling for other covariates.

Results: Fifty percent of studied households reported chronic illnesses. Approximately two-thirds of individuals lived in households with more than four problems relating to housing conditions. The results of the study showed a significant positive association between housing conditions and chronic illness.

Conclusion: These findings highlight the need for immediate action as they suggest that health in poor urban communities could be improved with better planning of housing needs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Housing / standards*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Lebanon / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Social Environment
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Health
  • Urban Population
  • Vulnerable Populations*