Self-rated health has been related to functional status, disability, and mortality in a variety of populations. This study examined whether self-rated health was related to physical activity levels independent of functional status in a population of older women. For this study, 9,704 women aged 65-99 rated their health on a scale ranging from excellent to very poor. Physical activity and functional status questionnaires and physical function tests were administered to evaluate levels of physical activity, strength, and function. Comparisons between women in three groups of self-rated health (good and excellent; fair; poor and very poor) indicated that higher self-rated health was strongly related to physical activity independent of physical strength, functional status, and co-morbidity. These findings suggest that physical activity is an important determinant of self-rated health in older women regardless of functional status.
Edward W. Gregg, Andrea M. Kriska, and Jane A. Cauley are with the Department of Epidemiology, 130 Desoto St., Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261. Kathleen M. Fox is with Medco Containment Services, Inc., 100 Summit Ave., Montvale, NJ 07645-1753.