There is consistent evidence showing that low socioeconomic level, both at the individual and contextual levels, is an important predictor of morbidity and mortality due to noncommunicable diseases.
To identify gender and schooling inequalities in the distribution of risk and protective factors for chronic diseases among Brazilian adults.
This study included data from 97 468 individuals interviewed in 2012 and 2013 from the Surveillance System of Risk and Protective Factors for Chronic Diseases (VIGITEL). Age-adjusted prevalence ratios at different schooling levels were calculated using Poisson regression.
Tobacco use, alcohol abuse and the consumption of meat with visible fat were more frequent among men, while the medical diagnosis of diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and dyslipidaemia was more frequent among women. In both genders, the highest level of education was associated with a lower prevalence of tobacco use, excessive consumption of soft drinks and excessive TV time, as well as increased alcohol abuse.
The results of this study represent a challenge for public health policies in Brazil, since sociodemographic inequalities reflect differences in the prevalence of risk factors and, consequently, in the prevalence of chronic noncommunicable diseases.