Results of the survey on health of Latvia’s population

27.11.2009

In 2008 Central Statistical Bureau participating in the European Health Interview Survey project with the help of standardized survey questionnaire form carried out Latvia Health Interview Survey. In survey of 2008 6.5 thsd residents of Latvia aged 15 and older were surveyed. Their answers were extrapolated on all population at corresponding age.


The results of the survey show that in 2008 every second resident of Latvia (49.2%) assessed own health as good or very good. Self-assessment of health slightly differs in breakdown by genders, but significant differences may be observed in breakdown by age groups. Positive assessment of own health (''very good'' and ''good'') prevails the negative (''bad’’ and ''very bad'') for both men and women aged under 65, but 42.9% of men and 54.7% of women aged 75 and over assesses own health as bad or very bad, but only 7.8% and 5.3% , respectively, as good or very good.

Self-assessment of the general state of health by age 
 


Nevertheless health self-assessment among the residents in 2008 in comparison with 2003 has improved, still 40.4% of the population indicated having some sustained sicknesses or health problems. Such problems are not important for younger population (13.1%), but their importance grow as the age of the person increases – 85% of the population after age of 75 mentioned that they have sustained sickness or health problems.

When answering to the question on chronic illnesses respondents of both genders most often mentioned pain in lower back or other chronic back problems - totally 36.3%. Second most often mentioned problem is high blood pressure – 27.1% (but with significant differences in breakdown by genders – women tend to have this illness more often), but the third most popular problem – pain in neck part of the back or other chronic problems related to that – 23.5%.

Every tenth (11.1%) respondent mentioned that health problems are disturbing or limiting their daily activities at least during the last 6 months. Of which significant limitations due to the health problems had every second women aged over 75.

During the survey questions also on availability of health care were asked and respondents were questioned to assess the health services from their point of view. To the question ''Did you during the last 12 months had situation when doctor suggested you to go to hospital, but you was not admitted?'' affirming answer gave 3.6% of the respondents. But approximately every fifth respondent (17.7%) had necessity to consult medical specialist (except family doctor), but did not do that.

Obstacles to consult medical specialist (% of population which during last 12 months had necessity for consultation, but did not do that)


Total

Could not afford (too expensive or did not have insurance)

Had to wait in a line

Could not find time because of work or had to take care of children or other persons

Too far to travel or no means of transportation

Wanted to wait and see if it is not becoming better after some time

Other reason

Total

100

23.7

12.8

19.4

5.4

23.6

15.3

Men

100

19.3

12.3

19.8

3.4

29.1

16.1

women

100

27.0

13.1

19.0

6.8

19.4

14.6

 

Medicine prescribed or suggested by the doctor during the last two weeks used 40% of the population, every third men (28%) and every second women (49.7%). Similar breakdown of answers was recorded also regarding the question about not prescribed medicine. If medicine prescribed or suggested by the doctor mostly was to fight the high blood pressure, among all population who during the last two weeks used medicine not prescribed by the doctor the most popular medicine used were vitamins, minerals and other stimulating medicine, 64.8% of the respondents used them.

To the question "Are you satisfied with services provided by health care institutions" the answers were following:


Total

Very satisfied

Rather satisfied

Neutral

Rather unsatisfied

Very unsatisfied

Hospitals

100

4.6

33.3

44.3

14.2

3.6

Dentists and other dental care specialists

100

10.3

46.9

31.7

8.4

2.7

Medical specialists

100

7.4

45.4

35.9

9.0

2.3

Family doctors or general practitioners

100

13.8

47.4

24.7

10.4

3.8

Home care and services related to health

100

1.4

10.4

82.2

3.6

2.4

During the survey various questions on habits influencing the health – smoking, alcohol, consumption of juices and vegetables, as well as on physical activities, weight and height - were asked. According to the results almost every second men aged under 35 is overweight, but body mass index of almost every third women aged over 45 indicated the obesity. To the question ''are you currently smoking?’'' positive answer gave 34.7% of the population. Of which 28.1% are smoking daily, of them 46.3% are men and 13.0% - women. The number of daily smokers if compared to 2003 has reduced by 4.6 percentage points.

The information acquired will be compiled in the collection of statistical data, which will include only most significant results of the survey, as well as micro-data files.

 

Prepared by Culture, Education, Science and Health Statistics Section
Antia Švarckopfa
Tel. 67366648