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Gender disparities in health and healthcare: results from the Portuguese National Health Interview Survey

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>12/2012
<mark>Journal</mark>Cadernos de Saúde Pública
Issue number12
Volume28
Number of pages10
Pages (from-to)2339-2348
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Although women experience poorer health conditions during their lives, they live longer than men. The main explanations for this paradox suggest that women's excess of ill-health is limited to minor illnesses and their different attitudes toward health. The authors test these assumptions by investigating disparities between men and women in health and healthcare in Portugal. Data are used from the Portuguese National Health Interview Survey 2005/2006 (N = 33,662). Multivariate regressions showed that women were more likely to report worse self-rated health, more days with disability, higher prevalence of hypertension, chronic pain, cancer, anxiety and depression, and more medical consultations. Heart disease was significantly more prevalent among men, possibly explaining part of the paradox. Women's more frequent use of medical consultations may reflect their heightened awareness of health problems, which may protect them against early death. Gender differences in socioeconomic status explain part of the differences in health, but fail to provide a complete understanding.