Health Status of Teachers at a Glance: A Cross Sectional Study
Introduction and aim: Occupational disease is the disease acquired related to the risks originated from the profession. As every profession, being a teacher also has its own health risks and diseases. The aim of this study was to determine the health complaints of teachers, their diseases and the habits that effect their health.
Methods: This is an observational, cross sectional study. All the state primary and high schools in Üsküdar were enrolled in the study and a representative sample of teachers was selected by stratified sample method. A comprehensive questionnaire including questions about the diseases and the health care use of the teachers was distributed to the schools and then collected after they had been filled by the teachers.
Results: A total of 798 teachers were attained. F/M=61.1% (s=488)/38.9%(s=310), mean age was 39,9±8,9 (22-65). Smoking ratio was 43.8% (s=331). Half of them (52.2% (s=394)) reported to do exercise. The mean stress score was 7,67±1,96. The question as “have you been exposed to the students’ wearing and aggressive attitudes?” was answered “Yes” by 91,8% (s=726) of teachers. The mean time spend for the lectures was 24,3±8,4 hours / week and the mean number of students in a class was 36,7±8,4. The most commonly expressed symptom was horseness (47%, s=281). The most frequently diagnosed disease was pharyngitis (39.1%, s=312). The frequency of main chronic diseases was 7.3% for hypertension (s=58), and 2.4% for diabetes and for chronic heart disease (s=19). Upper respiratory tract infections (p<0,001), depression (p=0,39), restless leg syndrome (p=0,018) and osteoporosis (p=0.034) were more commonly diagnosed in women than men. Primary school teachers had more health symptoms than the branch teachers. Smokers had more health problems than non-smokers. Only 14,4% (s=111) of teachers go for a regular health control and in case of a health problem they usually prefer a primary care center.
Discussion and Conclusion: This study, by its general view, and by the investigation of the relationship between health problems and factors such as sex, being a primary school teacher, exposure to students’ wearing and aggressive attitudes make its importantce among other studies regarding the health of teachers. Because of the high stress scores of teachers, authorities should take measures for the schools. The low prevalence of the chronic health diseases and the low frequency of regular visits can be an indicator of the unawareness of teachers about their possible chronic diseases. It is important to know the health attitudes and risks of the teachers, and take care about their health.
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