Work-recreation balance, health-promoting lifestyles and suboptimal health status in southern China: A cross-sectional study

Shengwei Wu, Zhengzheng Xuan, Fei Li, Wei Xiao, Xiuqiong FU, Pingping Jiang, Jieyu Chen, Lei Xiang, Yanyan Liu, Xiaoli Nie, Ren Luo, Xiaomin Sun, Hiu Yee KWAN*, Xiaoshan Zhao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Suboptimal health status (SHS)-an intermediate state between health and illness-refers to functional somatic symptoms that are medically undiagnosed. Although SHS has become a great challenge for global public health, very little about its etiology and mechanisms are known. Work-recreation balance is a part of work-life balance, and is related to stress which greatly influences health status. We therefore carried out a cross-sectional investigation between 2012 and 2013 within a clustered sample of 24,475 individuals aged 15-60 years from a population in southern China. In so doing, we hoped to illuminate the associations between work-recreation balance conditions, healthy lifestyles, and SHS. Work-recreation balance conditions were categorically defined by frequency (“rarely, sometimes, or always”). Health-Promoting Lifestyle Profile (HPLP-II) was used to evaluate the level of healthy lifestyles, and the medical examination report and Sub-Health Measurement Scale V1.0 (SHMS V1.0) were both used to evaluate health status. The ratio of SHS (46.3%) is higher than health status (18.4%) or disease status (35.3%). Overall, 4.9% of respondents reported the lowest level of work-recreation balance, and they scored lower on both the HPLP-II and SHMS V1.0 compared with those who frequently maintained a work-recreation balance. Significant association was found between work-recreation balance behaviors and healthy lifestyles (p < 0.001) after demographic adjustment. In comparison with those reporting a frequent work-recreation balance, individuals whose work-recreation balance was categorically “rare” were 1.69 times as likely to develop SHS (odds ratio (OR): 1.69, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.49-1.92), and those with infrequent work-recreation balance (“sometimes”) were 1.71 times more likely to develop SHS (OR: 1.71, 95% CI: 1.62-1.81). These findings suggest that work-recreation balance conditions are significantly associated with, and seem to be accurate behavioral indicia of a healthy lifestyle. Poor work-recreation balance is associated with increased risk for SHS; thus, a healthier lifestyle that maintains a work-recreation balance should be promoted in order to reduce the development of SHS or disease in southern China.

Original languageEnglish
Article number339
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2016

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

User-Defined Keywords

  • Health-promoting lifestyles
  • Suboptimal health status (SHS)
  • Work-recreation balance conditions


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