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The Association between Physical Activity and Self-Rated Health in Atlantic Canadians

Yunsong Cui, Cindy Forbes, Ellen Sweeney, Michael Yu, Vanessa DeClercq, & Melanie Keats

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Biological, psychological and social factors all influence an individual’s perception of their health status. Self-rated health (SRH) is a subjective measure of this perception, which utilizes a four- or five-point scale, ranging from “poor” to “excellent.” SRH is well-established in the field of public health; it can be used as a predictive indicator of a population’s overall health and well-being, including future morbidity, mortality, functional decline, and utilization of health care services. Previous research has demonstrated the relationship between lower levels of SRH and higher rates of mortality from chronic disease, including diabetes mellitus.

Engaging in regular levels of physical activity (PA) can result in improvements in overall health, and reduce the risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle. Increased PA has the potential to prevent detrimental health conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and some forms of cancer. Regular PA is also positively associated with higher levels of SRH. Recognizing the benefits associated with PA and the link between PA and SRH, this research brief explored the association between PA levels and SRH among Atlantic Canadians. We also explored the impact of chronic disease status on this association.

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