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Original scientific paper

The Role of Air Quality in Perception of Health of the Local Population

Damir Valentić ; Rijeka University School of Medicine, Departement of Social medicine and Epidemiology, Rijeka, Croatia
Vladimir Mićović ; Rijeka University School of Medicine, Departement of Ecology, Rijeka, Croatia
Branko Kolarić ; Zagreb County Institute of Public Health, Zagreb, Croatia
Nada Brnčić ; Clinic for infectious diseases, Clinical Hospital Centre Rijeka, Croatia
Aleksandar Ljubotina ; Rijeka University School of Medicine, Departement of Social medicine and Epidemiology, Rijeka, Croatia

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The research aim was to investigate and establish the perception of health among population groups with different number of industrial polluters in their living environment. Namely, the Kostrena living area (3250 inhabitants) is situated near big industrial pollutant producers: INA oil refinery Urinj, thermo power plant Rijeka, shipyard »Viktor Lenac«, while in Crikvenica living area such pollutant producers do not exist. In this research 146 subjects from Kostrena participated (74 men and 72 women with age average 40.8, SD 9.2 years), and 157 subjects from Crikvenica area (79 men and 78 women with age average 39.4, SD 10.1 years). The perception of health was measured by the means of SF-36 questionnaire variables. Lung function (FEV1, FVC, FEV 25/75, PEF), cardiovascular function (systolic and diastolic arterial blood pressure, heart rate were also measured, including body proporton measures by the means of waste and hip circumference and silhouette test, in order to establish the eventual objective physical health parametar difference among examined population groups. Subjects from Kostrena perceived their general health, mental health, and vitality worse than subjects from Crikvenica. Group from Kostrena felt themself more limited in their roles due to emotional problems, perceiving more pain than group from Crikvenica. On the opposite site, social functioning of subjects from Kostrena was better in comparison to Crikvenica group. No signifficant differences between groups were found in physical functioning and in role limitation due to physical problems. In addition, there were no signifficant differences between groups in objective physical health parameters, such as pulmonary function, arterial blood pressure, pulse, and waist to hip ratio. Subjects using sensoric systems and the mental cognition about harmfull environmental factors, percieve their health worse if there are present industrial resources in their environment, even when concentration of the pollutants are within legal ranges.


air quality, perception of health, pulmonary and cardiovascular function, SF-36 Questionnaire

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