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Gaceta Sanitaria

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ARTAZCOZ, Lucía; MOYA, Carmela; VANACLOCHA, Hermelinda  and  PONT, Pepa. Adult health. Gac Sanit [online]. 2004, vol.18, suppl.1, pp.56-68. ISSN 0213-9111.

The objective of this study is to analyse the social inequalities in health status, health related behaviours and mortality among the 25-64 years Spanish population. Data come from the 1997 Spanish National Health Survey, the 1999 Spanish National Survey on Working Conditions, the 2001 Yearbook of Labour and Social Affairs Statistics and the 1998 Mortality Statistics.  Most health-related behaviours are more unfavourable for men (smoking, alcohol consumption and overweight) and for less privileged social classes. Among women, entrance into the labour market is associated with more unhealthy behaviours except for overweight. Low weight, however, is more frequent among employed females. Self-perceived health status is better among men, more privileged social class persons and among workers. Whereas classical physical job hazards and work injuries mostly affect men, the impact of psychosocial job hazards and of exposures derived from the domestic work is higher for women.  As in other developed countries, the paradox exists that whereas women have a poorer self-perceived health status, mortality is higher among men. The male excess in mortality is related to health-related behaviours that to a great extent are determined by traditional values assigned to masculinity, with higher consumption of tobacco (lung cancer), alcohol (cirrhosis), drugs (HIV and AIDS) and risky behaviours related to injuries. Health policies should take into account social inequalities in health determined by gender, social class and employment status. For doing so, it is important to increase the development of research on social inequalities and of health information systems sensitive to social inequalities.

Keywords : Social class; Gender; Socio-economic factors; Occupational health.

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