The biomedically assessed cumulative burden of chronic disease risk factors on health-related quality of life in an urban population

North West Adelaide Health Study Team, Sarah Appleton, Robert Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Issues addressed

To determine the burden of multiple biomedical and behavioural risk factors for chronic disease and their impact upon health‐related quality of life (HRQL).

The North West Adelaide Health (Cohort) Study (NWAHS) is a biomedical population study using a representative sample (n=2,523, age range: 18–90 years) in South Australia, in 2000. Participants were assessed for blood pressure, total cholesterol, and body mass index. Information on demographics, smoking, physical activity levels, alcohol use and HRQL [Short Form Health Survey (SF‐36)] was obtained by self‐completed questionnaire.

The prevalence of 0, 1, 2, 3 risk factors was 15.6%, 28.8%, 30.5% and 25.1%, respectively. There was a significant negative trend on all SF‐36 dimension scores as the number of risk factors increased from zero to three or more, independent of the presence of one or more chronic diseases (asthma, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, myocardial infarction, angina, stroke). The trend was most marked for those with risk factors and chronic disease. Standard SF‐36 scores indicated mild to severe reductions in HRQL at all risk factor levels in those with a selected chronic disease. In participants with no disease, three or more risk factors were associated with mild to moderate reductions in most SF‐36 dimension scores.

Risk factor accumulation was associated with significant HRQL reductions that were independent of socio‐demographic factors and disease status.
So what?

Risk factor management alongside chronic disease management remains necessary. A focus on modifiable risk factor minimisation will have a major positive benefit on health status.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-62
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • quality of life
  • Chronic disease prevention
  • risk factor


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