Author(s): Fors S, Lennartsson C, Lundberg O
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Current research has shown a decline in health among older adults in Sweden. This study examines health inequalities among older adults in Sweden in 1991-1992 and 2000-2002 and explores the development of these inequalities during this period. METHODS: A data set was constructed out of four levels of living surveys, comprising 4085 individuals aged 55 and above. Multivariate logistic regressions were used to assess the association between social class, sex, age and four different domains of self-reported health: global self-rated health, impaired mobility, musculoskeletal pain and psychological distress. Adjustments were made for period of interview. Interaction terms were also used to assess change over time. Levin's attributable risk was used to assess the magnitude of the health inequalities. RESULTS: The results indicate an increase in reports of all specific health problems, but not in the global health measure during the period. Significant sex differences and a clear social gradient in health were discernible during both periods. Women were more likely than men to report problems with impaired mobility, pain and psychological distress. Manual workers were significantly more likely than non-manuals to report problems in all four domains of health. However, both the sex differences and the social gradient seemed to remain constant during the period. CONCLUSION: Although it seems there are significant differences in health depending on sex and social class among older adults in Sweden, these inequalities appear to be unaffected by the general increase in ill health that has been observed in these groups over the last decade.
This article was published in Eur J Public Health
and referenced in Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research