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Gender, Women and Health: Gendered health differences

Introduction: There is a paucity of information on health (including health status and illness) from a gendered perspective. In 2007, life expectancy for Jamaican females was 74 years which is 5 years greater than that for males; poverty was greater among females than males and the presence of illness was greater for females than males.

Objectives: The current work seeks to 1) examine health disparities between the genders, 2) assess the typologies of illnesses based on the sexes, 3) determine factors that account for self-reported illness based on the sexes, 4) evaluate explanatory factors of health status, with a gendered focus, 5) gendered health care utilization, and 6) assess whether social determinants of different definitions of health remained the same over different time periods, and based on differences in genders.

Method: This is secondary data analysis using national cross-sectional probability surveys (Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions, 2002 and 2007). The samples were 31,801 respondents. Stepwise logistic regressions were utilized to establish explanatory factors of self-reported illness and self-rated health.

Results: Females were 1.7 times more likely to report a chronic illness compared to males. They too, were about two times more likely to report hypertension than males, and diabetes had a female face. Arthritis is a male illness. Health care utilization increased for the population (2002 over 2007); but reduced among the poorest 20%, particularly greater among the males than that for the females.

Conclusion: The health disparities between the genders require policies in keeping with the gendered health inequalities.

Author(s): Paul A. Bourne , Desmond Brooks

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