Threats to Health and Well-Being Perceived by Older People in Poland and Portugal


  • Maria da Piedade Moreira Brandão ESSUA - Health School. University of Aveiro. Aveiro. CINTESIS - Center for Health Technology and Services Research. University of Porto. Porto.
  • Laura Martins University of Aveiro. Aveiro.
  • Marlena Szewczyczak Department of Preventive Medicine. Poznan University of Medical Sciences. Poznań.
  • Dorota Talarska Department of Preventive Medicine. Poznan University of Medical Sciences. Poznań.
  • Ian Philp Health Sciences. Warwick University. Coventry.
  • Margarida Fonseca Cardoso Department of Population Studies. Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas de Abel Salazar. University of Porto. Porto. CIIMAR - Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research. University of Porto. Porto.



Aged, Aging, Health Status, Poland, Portugal


Introduction: According to the OECD, Portugal and Poland rank below average in several well-being measures such as income and wealth, and health status. Investigating how people perceive the threats to health in these two countries, is an important issue to address priority needs. To meet this need, the objective of this paper was to compare the perceptions of the threats to the health and well-being among the Polish and Portuguese older persons and explore differences between the countries in respect of patterns of self-rated health.

Material and Methods: A Cross-sectional study with two convenience samples from primary health care services of Poland and Portugal was conducted; 480 adults aged 65 and over (247 Portuguese) were included. The EASYCare standard assessment of 2010 was applied under a joint project of both countries. The association between ‘self-rated unhealthy’ and socio-demographic and threats to health variables was examined using logistic regression.

Results: In both countries about two thirds of the older persons self-rated their health as unhealthy. Having more than enough finances was associated with a significant lower odds of being unhealthy compared with those without enough finances at the end of the month (Portugal: OR = 0.25, 95% CI 0.10 to 0.63; Poland: OR = 0.33, 95% CI 0.12 to 0.88). Visual problems, bodily pain, memory loss, feeling bored or lonely and reporting shortness of breath during normal activities was consistently associated with fair or poor self-rated health.

Discussion: These findings provide important information regarding the health profile of older people which can help in the development of people-centred health systems where their lives and well-being can be improved.

Conclusion: The unhealthy perception of older people was consistently associated with indicators of major health threats.


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Author Biography

Ian Philp, Health Sciences. Warwick University. Coventry.

Ian Philp é diretor da EASYCare Foundation Ltd, que detém os direitos autorais internacionais de todas as ferramentas e métodos EASYCare. A avaliação do EASYCare Standard está disponível gratuitamente, uma vez registrada na Fundação. Qualquer comercialização de métodos EASYCare por terceiros deve ser aprovada pela Fundação com royalties pagos. Os lucros da Fundação são distribuídos para instituições de caridade.




How to Cite

Brandão M da PM, Martins L, Szewczyczak M, Talarska D, Philp I, Cardoso MF. Threats to Health and Well-Being Perceived by Older People in Poland and Portugal. Acta Med Port [Internet]. 2018 Aug. 31 [cited 2024 May 28];31(7-8):409-15. Available from: