[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper reports on selected results from the study “Health and Lifestyle in Rural Northeast Germany”. A special characteristic of this study is the regional focus on peripheral rural communities and the trend study design. It was analyzed whether, and to what extent, associations exist between socioeconomic status and self-rated health in this regional context and over time. Thus, regression analyses were conducted using equivalent income, level of school education, and age as independent variables and self-rated health as the dependent variable. Analyses are based on paper–pencil surveys of the adult residents of 14 rural communities chosen at random in northeast Germany, performed in 1973, 1994, and 2004–2008. In all survey waves, a lower level of school education was associated with poor self-rated health. By contrast, associations between income and health were less consistent and constant over time. The associations between income and health are discussed as being specific to East Germany and as a consequence of social transformation in the context of reunification.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Secular trends in health-related behavior, the frequency of illness, and life satisfaction in rural areas are inadequately documented. Such information is essential for the planning of health-care policy.
In 1973 and 1994, surveys were performed on the health and lifestyle of all adult inhabitants of 14 selected rural communities in the northern part of the former East Germany. The inhabitants were surveyed again in 2008, and the findings of the surveys were compared.
Both the number of respondents and the response rate of the officially registered population in the 14 rural communities declined over the years, from 3603 (83%) in 1973 to 2155 (68%) in 1994 and 1246 (37%) in 2008. In 1973, 3.2% of the women and 2.7% of the men responding to the survey reported that they had diabetes mellitus. For arterial hypertension, the corresponding figures in 1973 were 21.7% and 11.4%; for chronic heart diseases, 16.7% and 12.8%. In 2008, most of the prevalence figures for these conditions were higher: for diabetes, 12.4% and 12.8%; for arterial hypertension, 34.7% and 33.9%; for chronic heart diseases, 12.3% and 15.0%. Men became less likely to report being in good or very good health (decline from 51.1% to 45.0%), while women became more likely to report being in good health (rise from 36.7% to 49.3%). Women generally had a more healthful lifestyle than men.
Over the long term, there have been both improvements, particularly in lifestyle, and turns for the worse, e.g., in life satisfaction. While the latter might be due to the increasing marginalization of rural eastern Germany, we interpret the observed improvements as benefits of modernization.
Deutsches Ärzteblatt International 04/2012; 109(16):285-92. DOI:10.3238/arztebl.2012.0285 · 3.52 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The development of the perceived state of health, the lifetime prevalence of chronic heart disease, hypertension and diabetes mellitus, and the life satisfaction of residents in rural communities in north-eastern Germany were analysed over the years 1973, 1994 and 2004/08 with reference to age and sex, and evaluated in comparison with nationally representative data. The analyses are based on data of surveys of the adult residential population of 14 rural communities in north-eastern Germany carried out in 1973 (N=3,603), 1994 (N=2,155) and 2004/08 (N=1,246). While there was an increase over time in the proportion of the population who assessed their health status as very good or good, the prevalence of hypertension and diabetes mellitus also rose successively. Life satisfaction was lower in 2004/08 than in 1994 in terms of almost all factors. A comparison with the results of nationally representative surveys shows that the illness burden of the population in the region we investigated was higher than average, while the perceived health status was considerably below average, as was the satisfaction with the work situation and the financial situation in particular. The development of health and illness parameters in accordance with the general trend is assessed as an expression of the modernisation of the working and living conditions in the region over this period, whereas the observed differences in levels are interpreted as a consequence of the rural nature of the region and peripherisation.
Das Gesundheitswesen 01/2011; 74(3):132-8. DOI:10.1055/s-0030-1270506 · 0.62 Impact Factor