We Published New Research: Sociodemographic and health risk factors associated with health-related quality of life among adults living in Puerto Rico in 2019
Our study looked at how different factors affect the quality of life related to health among adults in Puerto Rico in 2019. Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States, faces many problems like poverty, a weak healthcare system, poor infrastructure, financial crisis, and the risk of natural disasters exacerbated by climate change. These issues impact the health and well-being of its people, but there hasn't been much research on this.
We used data from a large survey (4,944 adults) to understand how factors like age, income, and health conditions are linked to health-related quality of life, a standardized metric used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Not surprisingly, the data showed that having chronic health conditions, being older, and having a lower income were all linked to worse health-related quality of life. Specifically, as people had more chronic health conditions, they reported worse overall health, more physical and mental health problems, and more limitations in their daily activities. Interestingly, while older age was generally linked to poorer health-related quality of life, younger people reported more mental health issues.
The study's findings are concerning because they show that the health-related quality of life in Puerto Rico hasn't improved since the last time it was measured. The situation might be getting worse due to the decline in healthcare services following natural disasters and the national economic crisis. The research suggests that there should be specific programs and continuous monitoring to help those who are most at risk, like people with chronic and mental health conditions, the elderly, and those with low income, to improve health equality in Puerto Rico.
Citation: Frontera-Escudero, I., Bartolomei, J.A., Rodríguez-Putnam, A. Claudio, L. Sociodemographic and health risk factors associated with health-related quality of life among adults living in Puerto Rico in 2019: a cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health 23, 2150 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-023-17115-3
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Dr. Luz Claudio is an environmental health scientist, mother and consultant, originally from Puerto Rico. She is a tenured professor of environmental medicine and public health. Luz recently published her first book: How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper: The Step-by-Step Guide. Dr. Claudio has internship programs and resources for young scientists. Opinions expressed in this blog are solely her own and may not reflect her employer's views.