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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(3), 240;

The Role of Healthy Lifestyle in the Implementation of Regressing Suboptimal Health Status among College Students in China: A Nested Case-Control Study

School of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou 510515, Guangdong, China
Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shandong Provincial Qianfoshan Hospital, Shandong University, Jinan 250014, Shandong, China
Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, The Affiliated Brain Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University (Guangzhou Huiai Hospital), Guangzhou 510170, Guangdong, China
Centre for Cancer and Inflammation Research, School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong 999077, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Alesia Ferguson
Received: 20 November 2016 / Accepted: 16 February 2017 / Published: 28 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [645 KB, uploaded 2 March 2017]   |  


Background: Suboptimal health status (SHS) is the intermediate health state between health and disease, it is medically undiagnosed and is also termed functional somatic syndrome. Although its clinical manifestations are complicated and various, SHS has not reached the disease status. Unhealthy lifestyle is associated with many chronic diseases and mortality. In accordance with the impact of lifestyle on health, it is intriguing to determine the association between unhealthy lifestyle and SHS risk. Methods: We conducted a nested case-control study among healthy Chinese college students from March 2012 to September 2013, which was nested in a prospective cohort of 5676 students. We performed 1:1 incidence density sampling with matched controls for birth year, sex, grade, specialty and individual character. SHS was evaluated using the medical examination report and Sub-health Measurement Scale V1.0 (SHMS V1.0). Exposure was defined as an unhealthy lifestyle per the frequency of six behavioral dimensions from the Health-promoting Lifestyle Profile (HPLP-II). Results: We matched 543 cases of SHS (42.66%) in a cohort of 1273 students during the 1.5 years mean follow-up time with controls. A significant difference (t = 9.79, p < 0.001) and a reduction in HPLP-II total score was present at 1.5 years follow-up (135.93 ± 17.65) compared to baseline (144.48 ± 18.66). A level-response effect was recorded with an increase of the total HPLP-II (every dimension was correlated with a decreased SHS risk). Compared to respondents with the least exposure (excellent level), those reporting a general HPLP-II level were approximately 2.3 times more likely to develop SHS (odd ratio = 2.333, 95% CI = 1.471 to 3.700); and those with less HPLP-II level (good level) were approximately 1.6 times more likely (1.644, 1.119–2.414) to develop SHS (p < 0.05). Our data indicated that unhealthy lifestyle behavior with respect to behavioral dimensions significantly affected SHS likelihood. Further analyses revealed a marked increase (average increased 14.73 points) in lifestyle level among those SHS regression to health after 1.5 years, with respect to the HPLP-II behavioral dimensions, in addition to the total score (t = -15.34, p < 0.001). Conclusions: SHS is highly attributable to unhealthy lifestyles, and the Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 240 2 of 17 mitigation of modifiable lifestyle risk factors may lead to SHS regression. Increased efforts to modify unhealthy lifestyles are necessary to prevent SHS. View Full-Text
Keywords: suboptimal health status (SHS); unhealthy lifestyle; SHS regression; health-promoting; nested case-control suboptimal health status (SHS); unhealthy lifestyle; SHS regression; health-promoting; nested case-control

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Chen, J.; Xiang, H.; Jiang, P.; Yu, L.; Jing, Y.; Li, F.; Wu, S.; Fu, X.; Liu, Y.; Kwan, H.; Luo, R.; Zhao, X.; Sun, X. The Role of Healthy Lifestyle in the Implementation of Regressing Suboptimal Health Status among College Students in China: A Nested Case-Control Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 240.

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