This paper examines the effect of socio-economic status on the utilisation of screening programmes and health promotion measures, based on data of a representative health survey in North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany), with a sample of 1,920 respondents. The analysis focuses especially on the utilisation of the cancer screening programme and the 'Health Check-Up' programme, which both have a high rank in German secondary prevention strategies. During the study year and the year before 29.2% of the relevant male and 56.5% of the female population took part in cancer screening programmes. At the same time 29.6% of the males and 30.1% of the females took part in the 'Health Check-Up' programme. In respect of socio-economic differences, the data confirmed the results of former studies in which non-participation of cancer screening programmes increased with decreasing social class. The social gradient was more pronounced with women than with men. While for the 'Health Check-Up' no socio-economic differences could be found, the participation rates in health promotion measures for women varied significantly with socio-economic status. For both screening programmes generally weaker statistical associations were found if the socio-economic status index was substituted by the educational level of the respondents. The findings suggest that strategies designed to increase participation of such programmes should concentrate more on lower social status persons to prevent the development of inequalities in health.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health