BMC Public Health (Dec 2022)

Association of lifestyle and sociodemographic factors on multimorbidity: a cross-sectional study in Portugal

  • Rosália Páscoa,
  • Andreia Teixeira,
  • Hugo Monteiro,
  • Filipe Prazeres,
  • Carlos Martins

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 22, no. 1
pp. 1 – 8


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Abstract Background Lifestyle factors are widely recognized as modifiers and major risk factors for non-communicable diseases. Previous studies on the prevalence of multimorbidity in Portugal predict an unfavourable reality. The aim of the present study was to analyse 1) the prevalence of multimorbidity in Portugal and 2) the association of individuals’ lifestyles and sociodemographic factors with multimorbidity. Methods A cross-sectional, population-wide study was conducted on a representative sample of the general population of Portuguese adults aged ≥ 20 years. Categorical variables were described by their respective absolute and relative frequencies (n (%)). All variables with a p-value < 20% were included in the multiple logistic regression model. The variables were removed one by one in descending order of p-value (p) until the model contained only significant variables. The results are presented using the odds ratio and 95% confidence intervals. P-values ​​ < 5% were considered significant. Results The prevalence of multimorbidity was 48.9% (n = 436), and the odds of multimorbidity increased 4% (p < 0.001) for each year of increase in age. Participants with reasonable general health status had higher odds of multimorbidity (Odds ratio (OR) = 3.04; p < 0.001), and those with poor or very poor general health status had even higher odds (OR = 9.14; p < 0.001). Compared to those who never smoked, participants who quit smoking ≥ 1 year presented an increase of 91% (p = 0.005) in the odds of multimorbidity. Individuals with no good-quality sleep, non-moderate screen time, or non-moderate stress level had higher odds of multimorbidity (OR = 1.98; OR = 1.88; OR = 2.22, respectively. p < 0.001). Conclusions This study presented a new approach to multimorbidity in Portugal. Population-based, multidimensional lifestyle interventions are needed. It seems necessary to optimize and adjust measures to prevent non-communicable diseases to improve health in Portugal. In the future, longitudinal studies will be an asset to reinforce and clarify these conclusions.