Gender Differences in Health Self-Perception in Older Adults in Primary Health Care in Brazil


  • Maria Vieira de Lima Saintrain Programa de Pós-Graduação em Saúde Coletiva, Universidade de Fortaleza (UNIFOR), Fortaleza, Ceará, Brazil.
  • Cleoneide Paulo Oliveira Pinheiro
  • Rosendo Freitas de Amorim
  • Zelia Maria de Sousa Araújo Santos
  • Flaviano da Silva Santos
  • Mirna Albuquerque Frota
  • Anya Pimentel Gomes Fernandes Vieira-Meyer


Epidemiology; Health; Health Inequalities; Gender; Older adults.


The men-to-women ratio shows that women outnumber men, and aging-related aspects signal differences between older men and older women, confirming gender-based differences in aging. Our study aimed to foster discussion on gender and its consequences for health, considering the perceived and self-reported health of older people attending primary health care facilities. We carried out a quantitative descriptive cross-sectional study in the city of Fortaleza, Ceará, Northeastern Brazil, with people aged 60 or older who were individually interviewed using a questionnaire addressing sociodemographic data (age, gender, marital status, income, education), systemic health (self-reported diseases), oral health and perceived general health (ipresent and past year health status). Participants were 821 older people whose age ranged from 60 to 100 years, with a mean of 69.7 years. There was a predominance of women (n=580; 70.6 percent ). Participants presented low levels of education and income. Women were 1.3 times more likely to present systemic diseases and 1.5 times more likely to use medications compared with men. Women were more edentulous and presented more soft tissue problems than men. There were no differences in self-perceived general health and past year health status among the participants. The participants self-reported health status revealed women are at an increased risk of getting sick, thus demonstrating gender-based inequalities in health among older adults. Public health policies need to improve peoples access to primary care, especially in disadvantaged socioeconomic classes. Strategies should include financial support for health, retirement and social security policies to diminish gender-based inequalities in health.




How to Cite

Saintrain, M. V. de L., Pinheiro, . C. P. O. ., Amorim, R. F. de, Santos, Z. M. de S. A. ., Santos, F. da S. ., Frota, . M. A. ., & Vieira-Meyer, A. P. G. F. . (2022). Gender Differences in Health Self-Perception in Older Adults in Primary Health Care in Brazil. European Journal of Natural Sciences and Medicine, 5(2), 1–17. Retrieved from