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Background: To throw light on the under-researched association between socioeconomic position (SEP) and health in Cuba, this study examined SEP gradients in health and their underlying mechanisms among urban Cuban adults aged 18-65. Methods: By applying linear regressions to data from the 2010 National Survey on Risk Factors and Chronic Diseases, the analysis explored the SEP-health gradient along three SEP dimensions-education, occupation, and skin colour-using ten health measures: Self-reported health (SRH), general and abdominal obesity, hypertension, high glucose, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, and cumulative risk factors. Regressions also included behaviours and health-related risk perceptions (tobacco and alcohol consumption, diet, physical activity, and risk-related behaviours). It thus investigated the SEP-health gradient and its underlying mechanisms via both behaviours and health-related risk perceptions. Results: Once controlling for gender, age, marital status, region and provincial dummies, the analysis detected educational gradients in SRH (estimated coefficient [95% CI]: Middle-level education = 3.535 [1.329, 5.741], p < 0.01; high-level education = 5.249 [3.050, 7.448], p < 0.01) that are partially explainable by both health-affecting behaviours (tobacco and alcohol consumption, diet, physical and sedentary activity) and risk perceptions. Using objective measures of health, however, it found no SEP-health gradients other than hypertension among people identified as having Black skin color (adjusted for demographic variables, 0.060 [0.018, 0.101], p < 0.01) and high cholesterol among those identified as having Mulatto or Mestizo skin color (adjusted for demographic variables,-0.066 [-0.098,-0.033], p < 0.01). Conclusions: In terms of objective health measures, the study provides minimal evidence for an SEP-health gradient in Cuba, results primarily attributable to the country's universal healthcare system-which offers full coverage and access and affordable medications- A nd its highly developed education system.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.