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Salud Pública de México

Print version ISSN 0036-3634


BORGES-YANEZ, S. AÍDA  and  GOMEZ-DANTES, HÉCTOR. Health service utilization by the 60-year-old and older population in Mexico. Salud pública Méx [online]. 1998, vol.40, n.1, pp.13-23. ISSN 0036-3634.

Objective. To describe the sociodemographic characteristics and determinants of health services utilization by the Mexican population of 60 years of age or more. Materials and methods. Information obtained from the National Health Survey II (ENSA-II) allowed analysis of 4 628 elderly people. Prevalence of chronic diseases was analyzed and the determinants of individuals who had used the health services in the two weeks prior to the interview. Results. The chronic diseases most frequently reported were: hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. The utilization and hospitalization rates of that age group were 11.4 and 5.5%, respectively. The services most frequently used were: the private physician, social security (IMSS, ISSSTE) welfare services (Ministry of Health SSA and IMSS-Solidaridad). Interestingly, 25 to 45% of social security insurance holders did not use the services, instead they consulted a private physician. The most important explanatory variables for health services utilization were: the perceived illness, not having worked for the previous week and being a social security insurance holder. Gender, area of residence and level of education were not significant in the explanation of health services utilization. Conclusions. This study demonstrates the need to strengthen preventive and support programs for the elderly population, since they only demand health services when they feel sick.

Keywords : health services [utilization]; aged; social security; diabetes mellitus [non-insulin-dependent]; heart diseases; Mexico.

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