Original Research

Health self-perception and morbidities, and their relation with rural work in southern Brazil


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Thais Martins-Silva1
MSc, PhD Student

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Roberta Hirschmann2
MSc, PhD Student

Caroline Cardozo Bortolotto 3 MSc, PhD Student

Mayra Pacheco Fernandes4 MSc, PhD Student

Ana Carolina Ruivo5 MSc, PhD Student

Luciana Tovo-Rodrigues6 PhD, Professor *


1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Post-graduate Program in Epidemiology, Federal University of Pelotas, Pelotas, Brazil

ACCEPTED: 17 February 2020

early abstract:

Introduction: Self-assessment of health status can be considered a good predictor of population morbidity and mortality. Socio-demographic, environmental and health conditions can influence health self-perception. However, in rural areas, the identification of morbidities that affect worker’s health and their general health condition is unknown. This study aims to evaluate the relationship between health self-perception and the occurrence of morbidities according to a type of work.

Methods: Cross-sectional population-based in a rural area of Brazil. The health self-perception classified as good (very good or good) or not good (fair, poor or very poor) as an outcome. Rural work, classified as yes or no, has considered as exposure. Crude and adjusted Poisson regression analyses were performed, obtaining prevalence ratio (PR) estimates and the respective confidence intervals (95% CI). All analyzes were stratified by sex and adjusting for confounding factors (age; skin color; and schooling).

Results: The sample comprised 893 individuals. The not good heath self-perception prevalence was 27.6%, with a significant difference between the sexes (24.2% of men vs. 32.5% of women, p = 0.014). Although associated in the crude model, self-perception was not associated after adjustment (PR: 1.02, 95% CI: 0.83-1.27). The risk of developing obesity (PR: 0.65, 95% CI: 0.47-0.91) and cardiovascular diseases (PR: 0.32, 95% CI: 0.12-0.87) was lower in men who developed rural activities. Also, women who reported doing rural work presented a lower risk for respiratory diseases (PR: 0.47; CI: 95%: 0.22-0.97).

Conclusion: The association between rural work and not good health self-perception, cardiovascular disease and obesity in women, and respiratory diseases in men seem to be highly dependent on socio-demographic context.