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Socioeconomic inequalities in utilisation of preventive health services in relation to cardiovascular disease and diabetes

Jianzhen Zhang, Brian F Oldenburg.

Substantial evidence suggests an inverse relation between all-cause mortality and indicators of socioeconomic position (SEP). However, while lower SEP groups are more likely to use medical services due to their increased morbidity, research suggests they are less likely to use preventive health services. National and international research indicates that, despite the increasing use of different types of preventive health services, significant SEP-related disparities remain. This study examines the relationship between SEP and the utilisation of preventive health services provided by general practitioners (GPs) for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes in Australia.

A self-administered mailed questionnaire survey from 518 participants aged 25-64 years was conducted in Brisbane, Australia, in November 2004. SEP was measured by education and family income levels. Using multivariable analysis, rates of preventive check-ups for blood pressure (BP), blood cholesterol (BC) and blood glucose (BG), and for the presence of CVD and/or diabetes were compared by SEP group.

People from a lower educational background (p

Key words: Socioeconomic position; cardiovascular disease; diabetes; health service utilisation; blood pressure check-up; blood cholesterol check-up; blood glucose check-up.

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