Suboptimal Health Status

Wei Wang, MD, PhD, FFPH, FRSB, FRSM Pro-Vice-Chancellor (China) Professor, Public Health

What is health?

The definition of “health” according to the world health organisation, is “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” (WHO).

What is Suboptimal Health Status?

Suboptimal Health Status (SHS) has been defined as “a physical state between health and disease”. SHS is characterised by the self-reporting of general malaise and ambiguous health complaints in the absence of a diagnosable condition. SHS is considered to be a reversible stage of chronic disease. Professor Wei Wang, who has over 30 years training as a medical doctor and PhD in public health, coined the term “suboptimal health status” to describe this condition.

Western Australia, specifically Edith Cowan University’s Centre for Precision Health, is the epicentre for suboptimal health research and home to the world’s foremost authorities on suboptimal health status. Being based in Western Australia, combined with our international research colleagues and collaborators, further augment our research strengths and capabilities.

What is the SHSQ-25?

More recently, Professor Wang’s research team developed a non-invasive screening tool to measure “SHS”, with the goal of bringing more precision to preventative health care. Called the suboptimal health status questionnaire-25 (SHSQ-25), tool is a powerful predictive instrument for the detection of SHS. It has been validated in African, European, and Asian populations. The SHSQ-25 accounts for the multidimensionality of SHS by encompassing five domains: fatigue, the cardiovascular system, the digestive system, the immune system, and mental status, with 25 supporting elements.  SHS as being crucial to advance predictive preventive and personalised medical care tailored to the person vulnerable to non-communicable diseases.

Professor Wang's research team

Professor Wang and his research team

What have we achieved?

Our achievements in this research area include over 20 published papers on SHS, book chapter and an award by the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC). The ACCC is a global scientific and medical professional organization dedicated to clinical laboratory science and its application to healthcare. More recently, we have published a position paper on SHS demonstrating the validity of SHS.


Upcoming conference – BMJ

Our team have been invited to present at the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare in Sydney, Australia, 6-8 June 2022 at the ICCC. We are excited to talk about how suboptimal health status predicts the risk of non-communicable disease in the general population. This event is sponsored by the prestigious Q1 journal the BMJ!