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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2015

Lifestyle, chronic diseases and self-rated health among Malaysian adults: results from the 2011 National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS)

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2015
Ying Ying Chan, Chien Huey Teh, Kuang Kuay Lim, Kuang Hock Lim, Pei Sien Yeo, Chee Cheong Kee, Mohd Azahadi Omar, Noor Ani Ahmad
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12889-015-2080-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

CYY performed the statistical analyses, interpreted the findings, and drafted the manuscript. TCH, LKK, LKH and YPS contributed to the interpretation of results and preparation of the manuscript. KCC participated in the interpretation of results and revised the manuscript. MAO and NAA were involved in the design and coordination of the study and the revision of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Self-rated health (SRH) has been demonstrated as a valid and appropriate predictor of incident mortality and chronic morbidity. Associations between lifestyle, chronic diseases, and SRH have been reported by various population studies but few have included data from developing countries. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of poor SRH in Malaysia and its association with lifestyle factors and chronic diseases among Malaysian adults.


This study was based on 18,184 adults aged 18 and above who participated in the 2011 National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS). The NHMS was a cross-sectional survey (two-stage stratified sample) designed to collect health information on a nationally representative sample of the Malaysian adult population. Data were obtained via face-to-face interviews using validated questionnaires. Two categories were used to measure SRH: “good” (very good and good) and “poor” (moderate, not good and very bad). The association of lifestyle factors and chronic diseases with poor SRH was examined using univariate and multivariate logistic regression.


Approximately one-fifth of the Malaysian adult population (20.1 %) rated their health as poor (men: 18.4 % and women: 21.7 %). Prevalence increases with age from 16.2 % (aged 18–29) to 32.0 % (aged ≥60). In the multivariate logistic regression analysis, lifestyle factors associated with poor SRH included: underweight (OR = 1.29; 95 % CI: 1.05–1.57), physical inactivity (OR = 1.25; 95 % CI: 1.11–1.39), former smoker (OR = 1.38; 95 % CI: 1.12–1.70), former drinker (OR = 1.27; 95 % CI: 1.01–1.62), and current drinker (OR = 1.35; 95 % CI: 1.08–1.68). Chronic diseases associated with poor SRH included: asthma (OR = 1.66; 95 % CI: 1.36–2.03), arthritis (OR = 1.87; 95 % CI: 1.52–2.29), hypertension (OR = 1.39; 95 % CI: 1.18–1.64), hypercholesterolemia (OR = 1.43; 95 % CI: 1.18–1.74), and heart disease (OR = 1.85; 95 % CI: 1.43–2.39).


This study indicates that several unhealthy lifestyle behaviours and chronic diseases are significantly associated with poor SRH among Malaysian adults. Effective public health strategies are needed to promote healthy lifestyles, and disease prevention interventions should be enhanced at the community level to improve overall health.
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