Ageing and health in Portugal: politics and practise

Maria João Guardado Moreira, ESE - Instituto Politécnico de Castelo Branco/CEPESE
Teresa Rodrigues, UNL/FCSH/CEPESE
João Estevens, FCSH/CEPESE

Demographic aging is one of the main global challenges of 21st century and human health a determinative factor of the degree of functional, financial dependence and productivity of societies. Some international studies concluded the existence of a significant association between age, educational level, average income and subjective evaluation of health status. However those researches did not include the Portuguese case. To supply this fact we developed between the years 2010-2013 the project Ageing and Health in Portugal. Politics and Practise, which was financed for the Ministry of Science and Superior Education and European founds (PTDC/CS-DEM/109967/2009, FCT-COMPETE). This project evaluated the impact of the population aging in the politics and practical of health in Portugal up to 2031 and our objective in this paper will consist to present its main conclusions. We evaluate all the possible policy implications of changes in regionally oriented health needs, in a country where centralized policies persist, as underlined by OECD reports. We cconsidered the expected changes in the demographic structure of Portuguese population by gender, age group and educational level. The results for demographic projections by NUTS II until 2031 were used as the basis for other estimations on a set of indicators on health status and health services organization. The results point out to a future improvement of health status (particularly, health status and self reported prevalence of chronic diseases, especially among men), but also to the increased use of health services considered (doctor visits and use prescription drugs). As such, we question whether, in the coming decades, it will not be before the increased use of health services that lead to better health, so reverse the expected spending in this sector.

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Presented in Poster Session 3