Where We Are: Socio-Ecological and Health Profile of the Philippine LIFEcourse study in CARdiovascular disease Epidemiology (LIFECARE) Study Sites

Elmer Jasper B. Llanes,1,2 Paulette D. Nacpil-Dominguez,2 Rody G. Sy,1,3,2
Nina T. Castillo-Carandang,2,4,5 Felix Eduardo R. Punzalan,1,2,4
Paul Ferdinand M. Reganit,1,2 Wilbert Allan G. Gumatay,2
Olivia T. Sison,2,4,5 Queenie G. Ngalob2 and Felicidad V. Velandria2

1Department of Medicine, College of Medicine and
Philippine General Hospital, University of the Philippines Manila
2LIFEcourse study in CARdiovascular disease Epidemiology (LIFECARE)
Philippines Study Group, Lipid Research Unit, UP-PGH, UP Manila
3Cardinal Santos Medical Center, San Juan City, Metro Manila
4Department of Clinical Epidemiology, College of Medicine,
University of the Philippines Manila
5Institute of Clinical Epidemiology, National Institutes of Health,
University of the Philippines Manila

Objective. This study aims to describe the socio-ecological and health profile of the Philippine LIFECARE study sites, its health care services and leading causes of mortality and morbdity.

Methods. This is a prospective cohort study that recruited participants aged 20-50 years from Metro Manila and four provinces (Bulacan, Batangas, Quezon, Rizal). Study sites were characterized according to their geographical area, terrain and environmental profile, and available health care system.

Results. 3,072 subejects were included, with male-to-female ratio of 1:1.3 and majority aged 30-50 years. Metro Manila was the most congested site. Two-thirds of the 62 villages (barangays) were rural, outside the town proper, and in lowlands. One-fourth were along coastal area. Almost all were accessible by public transportation. Majority have reduced forest cover, but were relatively safe from environmental hazards. Rural health units, hospitals, and professional health care workers were concentrated in Metro Manila. Leading cause of morbidity was respiratory tract infection, while cardiovascular diseases caused most of mortalities.

Conclusion. Study sites were mainly rural, outside the town proper and in lowlands, with available public transportation. There is an unequal distribution of health resources. Cardiovascular diseases is still the leading cause of mortality. The disparities in geographical access to health care play an important role in shaping human health.

Keywords: LIFECARE Philippines, socio-ecologic, health