Population-based study of a random sample of 50-year-old men and women in Gothenburg, Sweden.
To examine the determinants of perceived health and the differences between 50-year-old men and women.
Men and women born in 1953 were examined between 2003 and 2004. Participation rate was 60% among the men and 67% among the women. Questionnaires were used, including one on perceived health that was ranked on a 7-point scale from 1 (excellent) to 7 (very poor). The participants' medical histories were obtained through a questionnaire, and risk factors were measured.
Women generally perceived their health as poorer than men. Women experienced more symptoms than men, and most symptoms were more prevalent among women than men. Poor perceived health was strongly related to number of symptoms. In multivariable analyses 5 factors were related to perceived health in both men and women: working full or part time (women OR [odds ratio] = 0.3, men OR = 0.3) and physical activity (women OR = 0.6, men OR = 0.6) had a positive effect, whereas a low level of social activities (women OR = 1.9, men OR = 1.7), still feeling tired after normal hours of sleep (women OR = 4.5, men OR = 4.0), and feeling burned out during the past 12 months (women OR = 2.3, men OR = 3.0) had a negative effect on perceived health.
Women perceive their health as "worse" in comparison with men. Perceived health is a multifaceted condition related to social circumstances, physical activity, various symptoms, and tiredness after normal hours of sleep both in women and men.