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Low socio-economic status, smoking, mental stress and obesity predict obstructive symptoms in women, but only smoking also predicts subsequent experience of poor health

Journal article
Authors Jörgen Thorn
Cecilia Björkelund
Calle Bengtsson
Xinxin Guo
Lauren Lissner
Published in International Journal of Medical Sciences
Volume 4
Pages 7-12
Publication year 2007
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Pages 7-12
Language en
Keywords Population study, female, smoking, socio-economic status, lung function
Subject categories Public health medicine research areas


Department of Public Health and Community Medicine/Primary Health Care, The Sahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg University, SE-405 30 Göteborg, Sweden. This study was conducted among female subjects to assess the possible association between selected risk factors and lung function as well as airway symptoms in a 32-year perspective. The Prospective Population Study of Women was initiated in 1968-1969 in Göteborg, Sweden (population about 450,000) with follow-ups in 1974-1975, 1980-1981, 1992-1993 and 2000-2001. Women born in 1930, representative of women of the same age in the general population in 1968, were selected. Initially, 372 participants were included in the cohort. In 2000-2001, 231 of these women (73%), now 70 years old, underwent lung function tests. The main outcome measures were lung function values, airway symptoms and health outcome in 2000-2001 in relation to self-reported exposures in 1968-1969 including smoking status. Smoking in 1968-1969 was associated with self-reported chronic bronchitis, obstructive symptoms and poor health 32 years later as well as lower lung function values, compared to non-smokers. Obesity, low socio-economic status and self-reported mental stress in 1968-1969 were associated with obstructive symptoms 32 years later. There are only a few longitudinal studies concerning women's health problems in this field and epidemiological studies of lung function impairment in women and risk factors in a long-term perspective are scarce. The results of the study suggest that life-style factors such as mental stress, obesity and smoking among women are related to airway symptoms and also quality of life many years later. PMID: 17211495 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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