Research article

BMC Public Health

, 13:446

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Subhealth: definition, criteria for diagnosis and potential prevalence in the central region of China

  • Guolin LiAffiliated withThe Key Laboratory of Protein Chemistry and Developmental Biology of Ministry of Education, College of Life Sciences, Hunan Normal UniversityThe Key Laboratory of Chemical Biology and Traditional Chinese Medicine Research of Ministry of Education, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Hunan Normal University Email author 
  • , Fuxia XieAffiliated withThe Key Laboratory of Protein Chemistry and Developmental Biology of Ministry of Education, College of Life Sciences, Hunan Normal University Email author 
  • , Siyu YanAffiliated withThe Key Laboratory of Protein Chemistry and Developmental Biology of Ministry of Education, College of Life Sciences, Hunan Normal University Email author 
  • , Xiaofei HuAffiliated withThe Key Laboratory of Protein Chemistry and Developmental Biology of Ministry of Education, College of Life Sciences, Hunan Normal University
  • , Bo JinAffiliated withThe Fourth Hospital of Changsha, Affiliated Hospital of Hunan Normal University
  • , Jun WangAffiliated withThe Key Laboratory of Protein Chemistry and Developmental Biology of Ministry of Education, College of Life Sciences, Hunan Normal University
  • , Jinfeng WuAffiliated withThe Key Laboratory of Protein Chemistry and Developmental Biology of Ministry of Education, College of Life Sciences, Hunan Normal University
  • , Dazhong YinAffiliated withThe Key Laboratory of Protein Chemistry and Developmental Biology of Ministry of Education, College of Life Sciences, Hunan Normal UniversityQingyuan City People’s Hospital of Jinan University Email author 
  • , Qingji XieAffiliated withThe Key Laboratory of Chemical Biology and Traditional Chinese Medicine Research of Ministry of Education, College of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Hunan Normal University

Abstract

Background

A full evaluation of health conditions is necessary for the effective implementation of public health interventions. However, terms to address the intermediate state between health and disease are lacking, leading the public to overlook this state and thus increasing the risks of developing disease.

Methods

A cross-sectional health survey of 1,473 randomly recruited Chinese Han adults of both sexes living in the central region of China. The criteria for diagnosis of subhealth was defined as the presence of ≥ 1 of the following abnormalities: body mass index ≥ 25 kg/m2 or waist circumference ≥ 102 cm in men and 88 cm in women; systolic pressure 120–139 mmHg and/or diastolic pressure 80–89 mmHg; serum triglyceride level ≥ 150 mg/dL and/or total cholesterol level ≥ 200 mg/dL and/or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level < 40 mg/dL in men and 50 mg/dL in women; serum glucose level 110–125 mg/dL; estimated glomerular filtration rate 60–89 ml/min/1.73 m2; levels of liver enzymes in liver function tests between 41–59 U/L, or with fatty liver disease but < 33% of affected hepatocytes; levels of oxidative stress biomarkers beyond the reference range of 95%; or problems with both sleep quality and psychological state.

Results

The prevalences of subhealth and disease in the central region of China were 36.6% and 43.1%, respectively. The prevalence of disease increased from 26.3% in participants aged 20–39 years, to 47.6% and 78.9% for participants aged 40–59 years and those aged 60 years or older, respectively. Compared with participants aged 20–39, the prevalences of health and subhealth in participants aged 60 years or older decreased by 86.7% and 60.3%, respectively. The prevalence of subhealth was increased in association with increases in lifestyle risk scores, while the prevalences of both health and disease were reduced.

Conclusion

The prevalences of subhealth and disease are high in central China. Subhealth is associated with high lifestyle risk scores. Both the health care sector and the public should pay more attention to subhealth. Lifestyle modifications and/or psychological interventions are needed to ameliorate these conditions.

Keywords

Subhealth Health Disease Oxidative stress Thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS)