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Ciência & Saúde Coletiva

Print version ISSN 1413-8123

Abstract

GEIB, Lorena Teresinha Consalter. Social determinants of health in the elderly . Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2012, vol.17, n.1, pp. 123-133. ISSN 1413-8123.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-81232012000100015.

Health is affected throughout the course of life by characteristics of social context, which produce inequalities in terms of exposure and vulnerability. These social determinants interfere with the well-being, functional independence and quality of life of the elderly, but are generally overlooked in interventions and policies. Therefore, the aim of this study was to systematize the knowledge of the social determinants of health in the elderly, using the Dahlgren and Whitehead model as a conceptual guide. The effects of demographic changes in the aging process and morbidity profile were approached at the structural level. The conditions of life and work with impact on current and future health and the role of social cohesion were studied at the intermediate level. Lastly, the behavior and lifestyles of major risk were examined at close quarters. It was detected that equity in health requires attention to social determinants during the course of life in order to minimize chronic diseases and deficiencies of the elderly, which reflect their social positions in early life.

Keywords : Inequalities in health; Health of the elderly; Equity.

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