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Ann Epidemiol. 2006 Jun;16(6):492-500. Epub 2005 Jul 6.

Relation between self-reported physical functional health and chronic disease mortality in men and women in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC-Norfolk): a prospective population study.

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  • 1Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Cambridge, UK.



To explore the relationship between self-reported physical functional health and mortality.


A cohort of 17,777 men and women aged 41-80 years who completed the anglicised 36-item short-form questionnaire (UK SF-36) in 1996-2000 were followed prospectively until 2004, average 6.5 years, for mortality from all causes, from cardiovascular disease, from cancer, and from all other causes.


During 115,527 person-years of follow-up, 1065 deaths occurred. After adjusting for age, body mass index, systolic blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, and social class, the relative risks (RR) for all cause mortality were 2.15 (95% CI: 1.54, 2.99) and 2.42 (1.57, 3.74), cardiovascular mortality were RR = 2.71 (1.47, 4.98) and 3.09 (1.30, 7.33), and death from other causes excluding cancer RR = 2.88 (1.43, 5.79) and 5.22 (1.21, 22.53) in men and women respectively for those who were in the lowest compared to top quintile of SF-36 scores. These associations remained unchanged after exclusion of deaths during the first two years of follow-up and were also consistent in different age groups.


Poor self-reported physical functional health in men and women without known instances of prevalent cardiovascular disease or cancer predicts total and cardiovascular disease mortality in the general population independently of known risk factors.

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