Socioeconomic determinants of inequality and self-reported morbidity among adolescents in a developind country
Medina Solís, Carlo Eduardo
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Objective: Studies about health inequalities among adolescents have been conducted principally in developed countries. Although adolescents represent 15% of the Mexican population, no studies are available in this specific age group on health inequalities. In this study, we assess differences in the perception of morbidity severity among adolescent students, as well as their association with selected socioeconomic characteristics. Methods: We carried out a cross-sectional study (base-line of a longitudinal study of adolescents health) in 1999. Participants were Mexican adolescents (n=12769) aged 12-19 years, attending to public schools selected through of multistage sampling method. We measured the health status through a self-reported morbidity in 2 weeks time. We included several socioeconomic indicators and for statistical analysis we used the multinomial logistic regression model. Results: The prevalence of self-reported health problems was 32%. Women had 23% increased odds for reporting health problems. Age was positively associated to frequency and severity of health problems; also, there was a positive association with the mothers occupation, one-parent homes, and not owning an automobile. Conclusions: Morbidity reporting rates are higher than expected in this population. Moderate reporting levels are found among social groups, especially when health problems were perceived as moderately severe, suggesting the importance of socioeconomic factors as determinants. Further studies should conducted using different kinds of health indicators in this age group.