[Gender and health in Brazil: considerations based on the National Household Sampling Survey]

E M Aquino, G M Menezes, M B Amoedo
Revista de Saúde Pública 1992, 26 (3): 195-202
As in the principal industrial countries, Brazilian women have lived longer than men. However, paradoxically, women present higher morbidity indicators than men. Knowledge of the Brazilian pattern regarding this matter could be a useful contribution to an understanding of their determinants in our specific reality, as well as enabling us to foresee future trends that would make it possible to plan adjustment in the health system. A morbidity study based on data from the National Household Sample Survey (PNAD/IBGE), was undertaken in ten Brazilian states in 1986 with this in view. Coefficients of the prevalence of perceived morbidity, demand for and utilization of health services according to sex, standardized by age and using the direct method, were built up. As a measurement of the differentials, sex ratios were calculated. The excess of perceived morbidity in women was constant in all the regions. The sex differential in the utilization of health services showed regional variations, suggesting a relationship with the health services supply. Sex differentials were not observed in childhood; the highest values were found during the woman's reproductive period, decreasing sharply after 60 years of age. The pattern is very similar in all regions. In the present study, the findings could be partially explained by the methodology adopted, but they are similar to the findings reported in other countries. The intense transformations in the reproductive pattern and in the social status of Brazilian women probably have a considerable impact on the health status and on the recourse to health services, not as yet evaluated.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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