Trajectories of Self-Rated Health in an Older General Population and Their Determinants: The Lifelines Cohort Study

Marlies Feenstra*, B.C. van Munster, Janet L. Macneil Vroomen, Sophia E. de Rooij, Nynke Smidt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Objectives: Poor self-rated health (SRH) is a strong predictor of premature mortality in older adults. Trajectories of poor SRH are associated with multimorbidity and unhealthy behaviours. Whether trajectories of SRH are associated with deviating physiological markers is unclear. This study identified trajectories of SRH and investigated the associations of trajectory membership with chronic diseases, health risk behaviours and physiological markers in community-dwelling older adults.

Study design and setting: Prospective general population cohort.

Participants: Trajectories of SRH over 5 years were identified using data of 11 600 participants aged 65 years and older of the Lifelines Cohort Study.

Outcome measures: Trajectories of SRH were the main outcome. Covariates included demographics (age, gender, education), chronic diseases, health-risk behaviour (physical activity, smoking, drinking) and physiological markers (body mass index, cardiovascular function, lung function, glucose metabolism, haematological condition, endocrine function, renal function, liver function and cognitive function).

Results: Four stable trajectories were identified, including excellent (n=607, 6%), good (n=2111, 19%), moderate (n=7677, 65%) and poor SRH (n=1205, 10%). Being women (OR: 1.4; 95% CI: 1.0 to 1.9), low education (OR: 2.1; 95% CI: 1.5 to 3.0), one (OR: 10.4; 95% CI: 7.4 to 14.7) or multiple chronic diseases (OR: 37.8; 95% CI: 22.4 to 71.8), smoking (OR: 1.8; 95% CI: 1.0 to 3.2), physical inactivity (OR: 3.1; 95% CI: 1.8 to 5.2), alcohol abstinence (OR: 2.2; 95% CI: 1.4 to 3.2) and deviating physiological markers (OR: 1.5; 95% CI: 1.1 to 2.0) increase the odds for a higher probability of poor SRH trajectory membership compared with excellent SRH trajectory membership.

Conclusion: SRH of community-dwelling older adults is stable over time with the majority (65%) having moderate SRH. Older adults with higher probabilities of poor SRH often have unfavourable health status.
Original languageEnglish
Article number035012
Number of pages11
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18-Feb-2020
EventLongitudinal Studies 2018 - Wellcome Genome Campus Hinxton, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Duration: 30-May-20181-Jun-2018


  • epidemiology
  • risk management
  • public health
  • RISK
  • SF-36

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