Self-rated health and perceived environmental quality in Brunei Darussalam: A cross-sectional study


Objectives This paper examines the relationship between individuals’ perceptions of environmental quality and self-rated health (SRH) after controlling for dimensions of socioeconomic, demographic and healthy lifestyle variables. Design A cross-sectional survey. Setting The survey was conducted in Belait, an oil-rich and gas-rich district in Brunei Darussalam, from 17 October to 11 November 2019 and focused on the most populated subdistricts (Kuala Belait, Seria and Liang), where 97% of the people reside. Participants A final sample of 1000 respondents aged 18 years and older were randomly selected from the population of the chosen subdistricts, with 95% CI and ±3 margin of error. Due to variable selection, only 673 respondents were available for analysis. Outcome measures SRH was dichotomised into 1 for good health and 0 otherwise. Perceptions of environmental quality included perceptions of the natural environment (air quality, marine quality, water supply, noise and olfactory pollution) and the social environment (crime). χ 2 and logistic regression models were used to assess the relationship between individuals’ perceived environmental quality and SRH. Results Most respondents perceived themselves with good SRH (72%). The adjusted logistic regression shows that perceptions of air quality (OR=2.20, 95% CI 1.15 to 4.22, p=0.018) and marine resources (OR=1.84, 95% CI 1.24 to 2.74, p=0.002) in their surrounding areas were significantly associated with good SRH. However, other environmental variables were insignificantly associated with SRH. Among the control variables, healthy lifestyle and employment had positive associations with good SRH (OR=3.89, 95% CI 1.96 to 7.71, p=0.000, for exercising 3-5 times a week; OR=1.72, 95% CI 1.09 to 2.71, p=0.021, for being employed). In addition, frequent physical exercise compensated for the negative health impact of environmental pollution. Conclusions This study suggests that environmental quality has an important role in SRH. However, a healthy lifestyle measured with frequency of physical exercise seems to compensate for the adverse environmental effects on SRH.

BMJ Open