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Cad Saude Publica. 2012 Oct;28(10):1834-40.

[Disease prevention in the elderly: misconceptions in current models].

[Article in Portuguese]

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Instituto de Medicina Social, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rua São Francisco Xavier 524, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


The Brazilian population is aging significantly within a context of gradual improvement in the country's social and economic indicators. Increased longevity leads to increased use of health services, pressuring the public and social welfare health services, generating higher costs, and jeopardizing the system's sustainability. The alternative to avoid overburdening the system is to invest in policies for disease prevention, stabilization of chronic diseases, and maintenance of functional capacity. The current article aims to analyze the difficulties in implementing preventive programs and the reasons for the failure of various programs in health promotion, prevention, and management of chronic diseases in the elderly. There can be no solution to the crisis in financing and restructuring the health sector without implementing a preventive logic. Scientific research has already correctly identified the risk factors for the elderly population, but this is not enough. We must use such knowledge to promote the necessary transition from a healthcare-centered model to a preventive one.

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