Relationship between Self-Rated Health and Lifestyle and Food Habits in Japanese High School Students

Behav Sci (Basel). 2017 Oct 18;7(4):71. doi: 10.3390/bs7040071.


Self-rated health (SRH), a subjective assessment of health status, is extensively used in the field of public health. It is an important and valid measure that is strongly related to morbidity, mortality, longevity and health status. Adolescence is a crucial period for the formation of health status, because health-risk behaviours (e.g., skipping breakfast) are often established during this period. In this study, we investigated the relationship of SRH with lifestyle and eating habits in Japanese high school students. In this study, 1296 students aged 16-18 years from 11 high schools in Japan participated. A questionnaire was administered to these participants that included a question on SRH, five questions on demographic characteristics, six questions on lifestyle items (e.g., wake-up time), five questions on miscellaneous health issues (e.g., anorexia), and 25 questions on food habits and attitudes towards food. We examined the differences between self-rated healthy and unhealthy groups using logistic regression analysis adjusted for gender and age. A dichotomy regression analysis was performed using a stepwise elimination method. Of the 1296 respondents, 16.7% reported feeling unhealthy, 57.7% of whom were females. The self-rated healthy group had a higher frequency of eating breakfast (odds ratio (OR): 2.13; confidence interval (CI): 1.07-4.24) and liked home meals to a greater extent (OR: 3.12; CI: 1.27-7.65) than the self-rated unhealthy group. The two groups did not differ significantly in terms of other lifestyle factors or unidentified complaints. Our results suggest that liking home meals during adolescence may lead to the development of good eating habits, i.e., eating breakfast, and better SRH.

Keywords: adolescence; cross-sectional study; self-rated health (SRH).