RESEARCH PAPER
Subjective health assessment and health behaviour of adult inhabitants of towns located in the vicinity of wind farms in Poland
 
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Zakład Zdrowia Publicznego Wydział Nauk o Zdrowiu Pomorskiej Akademii Medycznej w Szczecinie Kierownik: dr hab. n. med. B. Karakiewicz, prof. nadzw.
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Bożena Mroczek
ul. żołnierska 48 71-210 Szczecin tel. 91 48 00 920 fax 91 48 00 921
 
Med Srod. 2010;13(2):32–40
 
KEYWORDS
ABSTRACT
Background:
The development of wind power industry is beneficial both for human beings and their environment, even so it causes anxiety of people living near wind farms. It is highly related to insufficient information on the effect of wind farms on human health. The aim of this study was to assess subjective health, existing problems and health behaviours demonstrated by the residents of places located near wind farms

Material and Methods:
The study was performed in January and February 2009. The research tool was a questionnaire consisting of the Norwegian version of The SF-36 General Health Questionnaire, the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) for health assessment, and author’s questions. Information was obtained from 343 respondents, whose average age was 45 years. Out of them 57% had a job, while 12% were unemployed. All respondents were country dwellers.

Results:
General health was assessed as excellent or very good by 30%, as bad by 10.8%. One-fourth of respondents observed the worsening of their health. Some 59.2% claimed that wind farms were over 1500 m from their houses; people living in the shortest distance form a wind mill (700 m) constituted 8%. One-third thought that windmills were safe for health; 69.1% did not regard windmills beneficial to themselves, and 2.6% could not see any advantages for the local community. Overweight and obesity were found in 42.34%, and 96.8% suffered from chronic diseases.

Conclusions:
1. Subjective quality of life assessment depends directly on internal conditions of an individual. Construction of wind farms is not evaluated as an investment that changes the life of an individual. It is thought to have no effect on the assessment of health or its worsening. 2. Risk behaviours in the group examined do not differ from those observed in the general population. The factors which make the behaviours different are gender, age below 65 and occupational inactivity.

 
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