Revista de Saúde Pública
Print version ISSN 0034-8910
BARRETO, Sandhi Maria and FIGUEIREDO, Roberta Carvalho de. Chronic diseases, self-perceived health status and health risk behaviors: gender differences. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2009, vol.43, suppl.2, pp. 38-47. ISSN 0034-8910. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89102009000900006.
OBJECTIVE: To analyze the association between chronic diseases and health risk behaviors and self-perceived health status by gender. METHODS: A total of 39.821 adults (30+ years old) who participated in the system Vigilância de Fatores de Risco e Proteção para Doenças Crônicas por Inquérito Telefônico (VIGITEL - Telephone-Based Surveillance of Risk and Protective Factors for Chronic Diseases) carried out in 27 Brazilian capitals in 2006 were included in the study. The dependent variable was medical diagnosis reporting of diabetes, hypertension and myocardial infarct or stroke. Respondents were grouped into three categories: no disease; one chronic disease; and two or more. The associations between the dependent variable and sociodemographic characteristics, behavioral risk factors (smoking, consumption of fatty meat and whole milk, leisure-time physical inactivity, low fruit and vegetable intake and intake of added salt) and self-perceived health status were assessed in men and women using multinomial logistic regression. RESULTS: Chronic disease reporting was higher among older men and women with lower schooling, BMI>30kg/m2 and who were on a diet. There was an inverse association between number of risk behaviors and two or more chronic diseases (OR: 0.64; 95% CI: 0.54;0.76 among men and OR: 0.86; 95% CI: 0.77;0.97 among women). Those men (OR: 33.61; 95% CI: 15.70;71.93) and women (OR: 13.02; 95% CI: 6.86;24.73) who self-perceived their health as poor reported more chronic diseases. There was no statistical interaction between self-perceived health status and gender. CONCLUSIONS: An inverse association between number of risk behaviors and reporting of two or more chronic diseases suggests a reverse causality and/or higher survival rates among those who take better care of themselves. Men seem to have poorer perception of their health status compared to women, after adjustment for confounders.
Keywords : Risk taking; Gender and Health; Socioeconomic Factors; Chronic Diseases; Health Surveys; Brazil; Health self-assessment; Telephone interview.