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J Prev Med Public Health. 2005 May;38(2):154-62.

[The relations of socioeconomic status to health status, health behaviors in the elderly].

[Article in Korean]

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Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Chungnam National University.



To analyze the relationships of socioeconomic status(SES) to health status and health behaviors in the elderly.


Data were obtained from self-administered questionnaire of 4,587 persons, older than 65 years, living in a community. We measured the sociodemographic characteristics, socioeconomic status, health status (subjective health status, acute disease, admission experience, dental state, chronic disease etc.), activities of daily living (ADL), instrumental activities of daily living (IADL), and mini-mental state examination-Korean (MMSE-K). Binary and multinominal logistic regression analyses were employed to analyze factors affecting on the socioeconomic status of the elderly.


With regard to the SES and health status, those with a low SES had poorer subjective health states and lower satisfaction about their physical health. Also, acute disease experiences, admission rates and tooth deciduation rates were higher in those of low SES. In the view of physical and cognitive functions, the ADL, IADL and MMSE-K scores were also lower in those of low SES. However, with regard to health behaviors, lower smoking and alcohol drinking rates were found in the low SES group, and a similar trend was shown with regular physical exercise, eating breakfast, and regular physical health check-up. From these findings, we surmise that those with low SES have a poorer health condition and less money to spend on health, therefore, they can not smoke or drink alcohol, exercise and or have a physical health check-up.


This study suggests that socioeconomic status plays an important role in health behaviors and status of the elderly. Low socioeconomic status bring about unhealthy behavior and poor health status in the elderly. Therefore, more specific target oriented(esp. low SES persons) health promotion activities for the elderly are very important to improve not only their health status, but their health inequity also.

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