BACKGROUND: Studies have indicated that people with disabilities die earlier and may experience a poorer health than the general population. This study investigated 31 factors related to health and well-being, health behaviour and social relations among Danish adults with activity limitation (AL).
METHODS: This study was based on data from the Danish Health and Morbidity Survey (DHMS) 2013 where 25,000 men and women aged 16 years or older were selected randomly from the adult Danish population. A total of 14,265 individuals answered the self-administered questionnaire including 100 questions on health-related quality of life, health behaviour, morbidity, consequences of illness and social relations. Based on an international standard question on AL, 888 individuals (6%) were defined as having profound AL and 4180 (29%) as having some AL. Multiple logistic regression analyses were used to analyse the associations between activity limitation and 31 indicators of health. The results were presented as relative risks 95% confidence intervals.
RESULTS: Twenty-eight of 31 indicators showed consistently poorer health and well-being, health behaviour and social relations among individuals with AL as compared to individuals without AL. The increased relative risks were in a range of 7-661% the risk among individuals without AL. An example is obesity where RR (95% CI) was 2.07 (1.82-2.37). Only contact with internet friends was significantly higher among individuals with AL as compared to individuals with no AL. There was no association between alcohol and AL and no association between fast food and some AL.
CONCLUSION: Danish adults with AL experience a poorer health and well-being, and have an unhealthier lifestyle and poorer social relations than adults without AL. People with activity limitation should be prioritized in public health and efforts done to secure availability and flexibility of health care services and primary prevention programs. Policies should address accessibility, availability and affordability of health care and health behaviour among people with activity limitation.