Morbidity and associated factors in rural and urban populations of South Lebanon: A cross-sectional community-based study of self-reported health in 2000.
The objective was to assess self-reported morbidity and its determining factors in South Lebanon, with an emphasis on the influence of the habitat location (urban vs. rural) and gender. Cross-sectional survey in 2000 among 524 South Lebanon residents >=14 years sampled from a random sample of households using a multi-level cluster sampling technique. Data on self-reported morbidity, lifestyle and socioeconomic status were collected through interviews, using a standardized questionnaire. To evaluate deprivation, a new index was created; the modified 'Living Conditions Index'. Stepwise logistic regression analysis was performed to test the effect of habitat and gender on self-reported morbidity. People in one-fifth of the households lived in precarious conditions. Illiteracy was significantly higher in rural than urban settings. Urban residents reported obesity, varicose veins, anxiety / depression and visual disorders more often. Illiteracy, headaches, lumbar pain, varicose veins and anxiety / depression were more frequently reported by women, whereas ulcers, hearing disorders, cardiovascular diseases and their risk factors were more frequently reported by men. Precarious living conditions were associated with headaches, lumbar pains and insomnia. Individuals covered by a health insurance sought care more often than the uninsured. Habitat location had only a minor influence on self-reported morbidity; women perceived their health as poorer than men and a number of disease conditions were influenced by deprivation. Our study confirms that the epidemiological transition phenomenon had occurred in South Lebanon in 2000. Our community-based data can serve as a baseline for monitoring changes in health in South Lebanon in the future and especially those because of the war that emerged in July 2006. (author's)