Diabetes: Socioeconomic Inequalities in the Portuguese Population in 2014

Joana Santos, Irina Kislaya, Liliana Antunes, Ana João Santos, Ana Paula Rodrigues, Mariana Neto, Carlos Matias Dias

Abstract


Introduction: Diabetes is a major public health problem and it is related to socioeconomic factors. The aim of this study is to describe socioeconomic inequalities in the distribution of diabetes in the population with 25 years or more, resident in Portugal in 2014.
Material and Methods: Data from the Health National Survey 2014 was analysed, n = 16 786. We estimated the prevalence of diabetes in the population and stratified by socioeconomic variables namely educational level and income. The extent of socioeconomic inequalities was assessed using concentration index and the relative index of inequality.
Results: Diabetes was found to be concentrated among the people with lower educational levels (concentration index = -0.26) and lower income quintiles (concentration index = -0.14). Relative index of inequality also showed a lower degree of inequality among the most educated (0,20; CI 95% = [0,12; 0,32]) and with higher income (0,59; CI 95% = [0,48; 0,74]).
Discussion: Distribution of diabetes is associated with education and income. Previous studies have shown that although income might reflect lifestyle patterns, education reflects better social factors that are important for establishing healthier behaviours. Also, the National Health Service, of universal coverage and free of charge, might have contributed to reduce inequalities in the access to health by those with the lowest income.
Conclusion: Supporting ‘Health in All Policies’ might reduce inequalities, namely by improving population educational level and actions that promote health literacy.


Keywords


Diabetes Mellitus; Healthcare Disparities; Literacy; Portugal; Socioeconomic Factors

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