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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


COSTA, Juvenal Soares Dias da et al. Prevalence of medical visits and associated factors, Pelotas, Southern Brazil, 1999-2000. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2008, vol.42, n.6, pp.1074-1084.  Epub Oct 09, 2008. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the prevalence of visiting doctors and to analyze associated factors. METHODS: Cross-sectional, population-based study performed in the city of Pelotas, Southern Brazil, between December 1999 and April 2000. A total of 1,962 individuals of both sexes, aged between 20 and 69 years and living in the urban area were included in this study. Data were collected with standardized, pre-coded questionnaires. The outcome "visited doctor during the 12 months prior to interview" was analyzed with socioeconomic and demographic factors, presence of chronic diseases and psychiatric disorders, nutritional status, smoking, alcohol consumption, and hospitalizations in the year prior to interview. Poisson regression was used, according to a hierarchical model, controlled by confounding variables, and considering a significance level of <0.05. RESULTS: Among interviewees, 1,395 (70.9%) had visited a doctor in the period analyzed. Multivariate analysis among men revealed that individuals who showed higher prevalences of medical visits had a per capita family income higher than 10 minimum wages per month, were over 60 years of age, suffered from diabetes mellitus, had a body mass index equal to or above 25kg/m², and had been hospitalized. Women who had a per capita family income higher than six minimum wages per month, were over 60 years of age, white and non-smokers, suffered from hypertension and diabetes, and had been hospitalized showed higher outcome prevalences. CONCLUSIONS: Health inequalities were identified in relation to ethnicity and family income. In addition, there was high prevalence of medical visits, especially among individuals who were older and suffered from certain chronic, non-communicable diseases.

Keywords : Health Services [utilization]; Office Visits; Socioeconomic Factors; Health Inequalities; Cross-Sectional Studies.

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