Revista de Saúde Pública
On-line version ISSN 1518-8787
DIAS-DA-COSTA, Juvenal S et al. Pattern of health services utilization by adults of the Pelotas birth cohort from 1982 to 2004-5, Southern Brazil. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2008, vol.42, suppl.2, pp. 51-59. ISSN 1518-8787. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89102008000900008.
OBJECTIVE: To describe the pattern of health services utilization by young adults. METHODS: Longitudinal study in Pelotas (Southern Brazil), in which the individuals were identified at birth in 1982 and followed up until 23 years of age. The outcome was defined by information collected about visits to health professionals that were attended in the year before the interview, between 2004 and 2005. The places where the visits occurred were categorized as public, private or belonging to health plan systems. Descriptive analyses were carried out for utilization and type of health service. Poisson Regression was employed in the adjusted analysis. RESULTS: Of the interviewees, 72.0% visited health professionals in the year before the interview; 86.2% (95% CI 84.7;87.7) of the women and 59.3% (95% CI 57.3;61.3) of the men. Even when gynecological visits were excluded, the women still attended more visits than the men, 68.4% (95% CI 66.4;70.4). Health services utilization was more frequent among interviewees of better socioeconomic level. A difference of lower use in relation to non-white skin color was observed only among male youths. There were differences regarding the type of professional visited by men and women and also according to family income. Men and women used more frequently the public system, the health plan system and, in a smaller proportion, the private system. CONCLUSIONS: The socioeconomic situation influenced the utilization and the type of health service, with men and women classified as "poor at the moment", which indicates lower utilization of services. Such socioeconomic differences may indicate difficulties in the access to the health system.
Keywords : Adult; Health Services [utilization]; Health Services Coverage; Socioeconomic Factors; Gender and Health; Cohort Studies; Brazil.