Objectives: We examined socioeconomic inequalities in health among older adults in England and Brazil.
Methods: We analyzed nationally representative samples of residents aged 50 years and older in 2008 data from the Brazilian National Household Survey (n = 75,527) and the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (n = 9589). We estimated prevalence ratios for self-rated health, functional limitations, and reported chronic diseases, by education level and household income tertiles.
Results: Brazilians reported worse health than did English respondents. Country-specific differences were higher among the poorest, but also affected the wealthiest persons. We observed a strong inverse gradient of similar magnitude across education and household income levels for most health indicators in each country. Prevalence ratios (lowest vs highest education level) of poor self-rated health were 3.24 in Brazil and 3.50 in England; having 2 or more functional limitations, 1.81 in Brazil and 1.96 in England; and having 1 or more diseases, 1.14 in Brazil and 1.36 in England.
Conclusions: Socioeconomic inequalities in health affect both populations, despite a less pronounced absolute difference in household income and education in Brazil than in England.