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Revista Portuguesa de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0870-9025


UVA, Mafalda Sousa; FONSECA, António Manuel; NUNES, Baltazar  and  DIAS, Carlos Matias. A public health approach to health and retirement: What do we know about their relationship?. Rev. Port. Sau. Pub. [online]. 2015, vol.33, n.2, pp.235-245. ISSN 0870-9025.

The exit from active life and the ingress into a life stage in which labour activities and relations do not exist, or could be of a different nature, is a feature of retirement. Several studies have investigated the effects of changes in health upon retirement. Several others have investigated the effects of retirement on health. If retirement is responsible for affecting health, then the implementation of public health policies, aimed at improving older individual's health, should take this matter into account. Similarly, the implementation of political changes in retirement age such as those that we are witnessing in Portugal should be carefully planned. The aim of this work is to describe and discuss the international and national studies conducted to improve the understanding of the relationship between health and retirement, especially between chronic diseases (and self-perceived health) and retirement, and also to highlight the importance of studying this subject from a public health point of view in Portugal. Regarding the effects of health on retirement, self-perceived health seems to have a relevant effect on retirement, as well as chronic diseases, although there is less agreement in the latter case. Findings on the impact of retirement in health are not consensual and it is thought that the nature of the analysis (cross-sectional or longitudinal), the timing and the reason for retirement, the circumstances of an individual before and after retirement and the health measure under research could be primarily responsible for the lack of consistency among studies. Concerning the Portuguese population, the few studies found about health and retirement are focused in different health status indicators, making it difficult to reach a general conclusion. Thus the need remains for the establishment of more methodologically valid research studies in Portugal, mainly epidemiologic studies involving the quantification of association and impact measures.

Keywords : Retirement; Chronic diseases; Self-perceived health; Public health; Portugal.

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