Traditional ways of measuring health may be over simplistic, according to a landmark study in well-being, conducted in collaboration with AUB.
The Ras Beirut Well-Being Survey, in conjunction with AUB’s Center for Research on Population and Health (CRPH) and the University’s Neighborhood Initiative, presented its findings at a series of public gatherings on October 11-13, 2011.
The survey – the first of its kind since the Civil War – examined the relationship between social and economic factors, on one hand, and health and well-being, on the other. The results were surprising.
Head project investigator Afamia Kaddour said the study suggested that conventional indicators of good health – such as feeling healthy – were insufficient.
“Health is beyond the physical,” she said.
According to the survey, few people complain of feeling unhealthy. But results proved that there was a high percentage of actual physical illness in the area. For example, 25 percent of respondents admitted to having hypertension.
People with illness do not generally feel unwell in Ras Beirut, Kaddour said, adding that this reflected the complexities of understanding health, as well as its subjective nature.
The project’s data collection among over-21s began in fall 2009 and was completed in early 2010. A random selection of 676 households in the Ras Beirut area, between Hamra, Bliss, Kantari, and the Manara regions, were included in the study.
Data compiled in the survey included the age of buildings, the number of people per household living in a single room, and levels of rent. All these factors should be considered when deeming someone healthy or otherwise, Kaddour said.
CRPH facilitates research on the relationship between the Lebanese population and their health, whereas the Neighborhood Initiative aims to connect AUB to its surrounding community through research and outreach activities.
Information contained within the survey will soon be available for public consumption via the project’s website.