SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.21 suppl.1Dietary patterns, sociodemographic and behavioral characteristics among Brazilian adolescentsRisk and protection factors for chronic noncommunicable diseases in adolescents in Brazilian capitals author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand




Related links


Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia

Print version ISSN 1415-790XOn-line version ISSN 1980-5497

Rev. bras. epidemiol. vol.21  supl.1 São Paulo  2018  Epub Nov 29, 2018 


Demand for health services or professionals among Brazilian adolescents according to the National School Health Survey 2015

Max Moura de OliveiraI  II 

Silvânia Suely Caribé de Araújo AndradeIII 

Sheila Rizzato StopaI  III 

Deborah Carvalho MaltaIV 

ISchool of Public Health, Universidade de São Paulo - São Paulo (SP), Brazil.

IIInternational Research Center, A. C. Camargo Cancer Center - São Paulo (SP), Brazil.

IIIDepartment of Noncommunicable Disease Surveillance and Health Promotion, Ministério da Saúde - Brasília (DF), Brazil.

IVSchool of Nursing, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais - Belo Horizonte (MG), Brazil.



Knowing the profile of individuals who demand health services or professionals could help in the improvement and reorganization of services. However, this subject is still underexplored among adolescents. This study aimed to describe and identify characteristics related to the demand for health services or professionals by Brazilian students.


Using data from the 2015 National School Health Survey, the prevalence and respective 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) of the demand for health services or professionals among students were estimated, and Poisson regression adjusted by age and region of residence was used to identify the associated factors.


More than half of the students demanded for health services or professionals in the last year, with a higher demand among females. The characteristics associated with the outcome were sociodemographic (female, white, private school), family (maternal schooling of 12 years or more, having meals with parents/guardians and parents’ knowledge of the adolescent’s activities in their free time), risk behaviors (alcohol consumption and sexual intercourse without a condom) and health-related issues (physical violence, wheezing, toothache, hygiene habits, and attitude to one’s own weight).


Organizing health services in a way that takes the particularities of this population into account may provide a space to deal with subjects related to the risks to which it is exposed.

Keywords: School health; Adolescent behavior; Adolescent; Health services


The demand for health services is influenced both by the characteristics and needs of individuals and by the offer of services, ease of access, financial resources and availability and linkage of health professionals1. The demand for health services can occur directly, such as medical visits and hospitalizations, or indirectly, such as for conducting preventive and diagnostic exams1,2,3. Although the use of health services is a widely explored topic among Brazilian adults and elderly people, even in surveys with national coverage4, investigations among adolescents are still infrequent.

Among the studies with local, in the study carried out in Niterói, in 2001, which approached the relationship between adolescents and health services (n = 457), it was demonstrated that of the 210 adolescents who reported the need for care in a health service, 166 (79.1%) reported having actually sought the service in the last 3 months, and differences were observed according to school type (public and private) and sex5. In Pelotas, in 2012, 23.0% of adolescents reported using some health service in the last 30 days prior to the survey6.

Since 2012, the National School Health Survey (PeNSE) has included the theme of the demand for health services and/or professionals7. Analyzing these data, Oliveira et al. emphasized, for the first time, with a national coverage among students in the 9th year of Primary Education, that the search for a health service or professional in the last 12 months prior to the survey was 48.0%. The authors identified that, in addition to individual and behavioral characteristics, family and health-related aspects were associated with the demand for health services by schoolchildren8. In the analysis of the data referring to the demand for health services in the 2015 edition of PeNSE, it is expected that this percentage has increased, adopting as reference an increase in the supply of services through the expansion of the coverage of the Family Health Strategy, which has grew from 53.75% in January 2012 to 63.72% in December 20159.

It is important to monitor the demand for health services in order to identify determinants and conditions related to health risk behaviors for adolescents, in order to contribute to the development of public health policies and encourage the adoption of preventive measures10,11,12,13,14. In 2015, in addition to the representative sample of students from the 9th year of Primary Education, PeNSE had a second sample, representative of students aged from 13 to 17 years. This study allowed us to evaluate the use of services of schoolchildren with this age group. The objectives were to describe and identify characteristics related to the demand for health services or health professionals by Brazilian students.


This is a cross-sectional study using PeNSE data from 2015, made publicly available on the website of the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE)(2). PeNSE is a triennial school-based survey conducted by IBGE in partnership with the Ministry of Health, with support from the Ministry of Education7,15,16,17.

In 2015, the samples were representative for both 9th grade students (Sample 1) and 6th grade students from elementary school to the 3rd year of high school, which is representative of students aged 13 to 17 years (Sample 2)7,15,17. The analyzes in this study were performed using data from Sample 2.

The sample plan of Sample 2 was defined in five geographic strata, referring to each Greater Region of the country, aiming to represent Brazil and its Major Regions. The sample of each geographic stratum was allocated proportionally to the number of schools according to the type (private and public) of the schools registered in the 2013 School Census. Sample 2 was composed of 10,926 valid interviews with students in the 6th to 9th grades (old 5th to 8th grade) of Primary Education and in the 1st to 3rd year of Secondary Education (morning, afternoon and evening shifts) of public and private schools, with at least 15 students enrolled in the chosen series15.

For the strata, the sample was selected in three stages: by IBGE agencies, by the size and by the eligible classes in the selected schools. All students in the selected classes that were present on the day of the interview were included in the sample15.

The students answered a self-administered structured questionnaire in a smartphone. After the data collection, the sample weights were calculated so that the sample was representative for Brazil, the five Regions, and the federation units. For more details, please refer to the 2015 PeNSE report15.

The search for health services or health professionals was described using the indicator “Percentage of schoolchildren who searched for a health service or professional in the 12 months prior to the survey: no and yes”, which is the dependent variable.

The independent variables potentially associated with the outcome were:

  • sociodemographic characteristics of the students: sex (female or male); age (in years); race/skin color (white, black, yellow, brown and indigenous); school type (public or private); Region of residence (Southeast, North, Northeast, South or Midwest);

  • family characteristics of the students: maternal schooling (illiterate, incomplete/complete primary education, incomplete/complete secondary education, incomplete/complete higher education); living with at least one of the parents in the same residence (neither parent, only the mother or the father, both parents); meal with parents or guardians in the week prior to the survey (no [never or once] or yes [two or more times]); missed class without parental or guardian permission in the last 30 days prior to the survey (no or yes); parents’ knowledge of the adolescent’s activities in their free time in the last 30 days prior to the survey (never; rarely/sometimes; most of the time/always);

  • risk behaviors: current smoking (no or yes); current abusive alcohol use (no or yes); current drug use (no or yes); sexual behavior in the last intercourse (did not have intercourse, had sexual intercourse with a condom, had sexual intercourse without a condom);

  • health-related issues: had been injured (no or yes); physical violence in the last 12 months (no or yes); feeling alone: (never/rarely, sometimes, most of the time/always); chest wheezing (no or yes); toothache (no or yes); a habit of washing hands (no or yes); attitude towards body weight (doing nothing, trying to lose weight, trying to gain weight, trying to maintain weight); self-assessment of health status (very good, good, regular, bad, very bad).

The prevalence, as well as their respective 95% confidence intervals (95%CI), of the demand for health services or health professionals among schoolchildren were estimated according to the independent variables. The magnitudes of the associations were estimated using the prevalence ratios (RPs) by the Poisson regression model. The first category of each variable was used as reference. Initially, a bivariate analysis was performed. Then, the variables that were associated with significance level p ≤ 0.20 were selected for the multiple model.

Data analyses were performed using Stata software version 14.0 (Stata Corp., College Station, USA) using the survey command for complex sampling. PeNSE was approved by the National Commission for Ethics in Research of the Ministry of Health, under Opinion No. 1.006.467, dated March 30th, 2015.


The demand for health services or professionals in the last 12 months among students aged 13 to 17 years was 56.7% (95%CI 55.2 - 58.3). Regarding the sociodemographic characteristics, the demand was higher for females (61,1%; 95%CI 59.2 - 63.0), for adolescents aged 16 years (63.6%; 95%CI 60.9 - 66.2), white skin color/race (60.4%; 95%CI 58.4 - 62.3), private school students (69.9%; 95%CI 67.5 - 72.2) and residents of the Southeast Region (59.6%; 95%CI 57.1 - 62.2). In relation to family characteristics, there was an increase in demand among youngsters with high maternal schooling, reaching 65.3% (95%CI 62.4 - 68.0) for children of mothers with higher education, who live with both parents (58.5%; 95%CI 56.4 - 60.6), who have meals with their guardians (57.6%; 95%CI 56.0 - 59.3), who did not miss classes without permission from their guardians (57.7%; 95%CI 55.8 - 59.5) and among those whose parents had knowledge of what they did on their free time (60.3%; 95%CI 58.8 - 61.8), as shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Prevalence and 95% confidence interval of the demand for a health service or professional in the last 12 months, according to the characteristics of the students aged 13 to 17 years. National School Health Survey, Brazil, 2015. 

Variables % (95%CI)
Sex (n = 10,813)
Female 61.1 (59.2 - 63.0)
Male 52.4 (50.4 - 54.3)
Age (years) (n = 10,813)
13 51.8 (48.6 - 55.1)
14 53.9 (50.8 - 57.0)
15 57.5 (54.6 - 60.4)
16 63.6 (60.9 - 66.2)
17 56.7 (53.1 - 60.2)
Race/skin color (n = 10,806)
White 60.4 (58.4 - 62.3)
Black 52.2 (48.6 - 55.7)
Yellow 53.3 (47.5 - 59.1)
Brown 55.8 (53.2 - 58.3)
Indigenous 52.2 (44.9 - 59.4)
School type (n = 10,813)
Private 69.9 (67.5 - 72.2)
Public 54.8 (53.1 - 56.4)
Region of residence (n = 10,813)
North 53.8 (51.0 - 56.5)
Northeast 53.7 (50.5 - 56.9)
Southeast 59.6 (57.1 - 62.2)
South 56.5 (53.3 - 59.7)
Midwest 56.4 (53.3 - 59.5)
Maternal schooling (n = 8,484)
Illiterate 48.6 (43.7 - 53.5)
Primary Education 56.0 (53.3 - 58.7)
Secondary Education 62.2 (59.7 - 64.6)
Higher Education 65.3 (62.4 - 68.0)
Living with at least one of the parents at the same house (n = 10,807)
Neither parent 54.9 (50.7 - 59.1)
Only with the mother or father 54.3 (52.2 - 56.3)
Both parents 58.5 (56.4 - 60.6)
Meal with parents or guardians (n = 10,802)
No 53.7 (51.1 - 56.4)
Yes 57.6 (56.0 - 59.3)
Missing classes without permission from parents or guardians (n = 10,799)
No 57.7 (55.8 - 59.5)
Yes 54.2 (51.7 - 56.7)
Knowledge of parents or guardians about their children’s activities in their free time (n = 10,790)
Never/rarely 48.8 (46.0 - 51.7)
Sometimes 51.7 (48.2 - 55.2)
Most times/always 60.3 (58.8 - 61.8)
Current smoking (n = 10,810)
No 56.7 (55.1 - 58.3)
Yes 57.5 (52.3 - 62.5)
Current alcohol abuse (n = 10,802)
No 54.4 (52.7 - 56.1)
Yes 62.4 (60.0 - 64.7)
Current drug use (n = 10,809)
No 56.4 (53.3 - 56.9)
Yes 63.2 (56.4 - 61.3)
Sexual behavior in last intercourse (n = 10,798)
Did not have intercourse 55.1 (53.5 - 56.6)
With condom 58.8 (56.2 - 61.4)
Without condom 60.4 (57.0 - 63.7)
Having had an injury (n = 10,769)
No 56.2 (54.5 - 57.9)
Yes 60.8 (57.4 - 64.1)
Having suffered physical violence in the last 12 months (n = 10,781)
No 55.3 (53.6 - 57.1)
Yes 63.7 (61.0 - 66.3)
Feeling alone (n = 10,801)
Never/rarely 52.3 (49.8 - 54.8)
Sometimes 59.8 (57.9 - 61.7)
Most of the time/Always 56.0 (52.2 - 59.8)
Chest wheezing (n = 10,773)
No 54.2 (52.5 - 56.0)
Yes 66.2 (63.8 - 68.5)
Toothache (n = 9,727)
No 56.2 (54.4 - 58.1)
Yes 59.5 (56.6 - 62.2)
Habit of washing hands (n = 10,786)
No 53.0 (50.8 - 55.2)
Yes 58.8 (57.1 - 60.5)
Attitude towards body weight (n = 10,765)
Does nothing 51.2 (48.8 - 53.5)
Losing weight 61.4 (58.9 - 63.8)
Gaining weight 59.0 (56.0 - 62.0)
Maintaining weight 60.9 (57.7 - 63.9)
Self-assessment of health status (n = 10,795)
Very good 54.1 (51.5 - 56.6)
Good 58.6 (56.4 - 60.8)
Regular 57.0 (54.4 - 59.7)
Bad 59.8 (53.2 - 66.2)
Too bad 61.0 (54.8 - 66.8)
Total 56.7% (55.2 - 58.3)

%: prevalence; 95%CI: 95% confidence interval.

Regarding risk behaviors, the demand was higher among adolescents who consume alcohol (62.4%; 95%CI 52.3 - 62.5), who use drugs (63.2%; 95%CI 60.0 - 64.7) and who had sexual intercourse without a condom (60.4%; 95%CI 57.0 - 64.1); there was no difference for current smoking. Regarding health issues, the demand was greater among those who suffered some injury (60.8%; 95%CI 57.4 - 64.1) or physical violence (63.7%; 95%CI 61.0 - 66.3) and those who felt alone at times (59.8%; 95%CI 57.9 - 61.7), as well as those who reported chest wheezing (66.2%; 95%CI 63.8 - 68.5) and toothache (59.5%; 95%CI 56.6 - 62.2). On the other hand, the demand was lower among those who did not do anything in relation to their own body weight (51.2%; 95%CI 48.8 - 53.5) and among those who assessed their health status as very good (54.1%; 95%CI 51.5 - 56.6) (Table 1).

Table 2 presents the results of the bivariate and multiple regression analyzes, adjusted for age and Region of residence. Adolescents whose mothers had completed secondary education (PR = 1.19; p = 0.003) or higher education (PR = 1.21; p = 0.002), had meals with their parents (PR = 1.09; p < 0.015) and those whose guardians, most of the times or always, have knowledge about what they do in their free time (PR = 1.19; p < 0.001) were associated with a greater demand for health services or health professionals. Also, adolescents who reported current alcohol consumption (PR = 1.10; p < 0.001), practicing unprotected sexual intercourse (PR = 1.09; p = 0.018), suffering physical violence (PR = 1.09; p = 0.007), chest wheezing (PR = 1.15; p < 0.001), toothache (PR = 1.07; p = 0.018), the habit of washing hands (PR = 1.09; p < 0.001), as well as those trying to lose (PR = 1.09; p = 0.005), gain (PR = 1.10; p = 0.004) or maintain weight (PR = 1.16; p < 0.001), were also related to greater demand for services or health professionals.

Table 2. Prevalence ratio and adjusted prevalence ratio with the respective 95% confidence intervals of the characteristics associated with the demand for a health service or professional in the last 12 months, among students aged 13 to 17 years. National School Health Survey, Brazil, 2015. 

Variables PR (95%CI) p-value PRa (95%CI)* p-value
Female Reference Reference
Male 0.86 (0.82 - 0.89) < 0.001 0.86 (0.82 - 0.91) < 0.001
Age (in years) 1.04 (1.02 - 1.06) < 0.001 - -
Race/skin color
White Reference Reference
Black 0.86 (0.80 - 0.93) < 0.001 0.86 (0.79 - 0.94) < 0.001
Yellow 0.88 (0.79 - 0.99) 0.033 0.87 (0.78 - 0.99) 0.029
Brown 0.92 (0.87 - 0.98) 0.006 0.96 (0.90 - 1.01) 0.129
Indigenous 0.86 (0.75 - 1.00) 0.048 1.00 (0.85 - 1.17) 0.988
School type
Private Reference Reference
Public 0.78 (0.75 - 0.82) < 0.001 0.87 (0.82 - 0.93) < 0.001
Region of residence
North Reference - -
Northeast 1.00 (0.92 - 1.08) 0.977 - -
Southeast 1.11 (1.04 - 1.19) 0.002 - -
South 1.05 (0.97 - 1.13) 0.197 - -
Midwest 1.05 (0.97 - 1.13) 0.205 - -
Maternal schooling
Illiterate Reference Reference
Primary Education 1.15 (1.03 - 1.29) 0.011 1.09 (0.97 - 1.22) 0.167
Secondary Education 1.28 (1.15 - 1.42) < 0.001 1.19 (1.06 - 1.34) 0.003
Higher Education 1.34 (1.20 - 1.50) < 0.001 1.21 (1.07 - 1.38) 0.002
Living with at least one of the parents at the same house
Neither parent Reference - -
Only with the mother or father 0.99 (0.91 - 1.08) 0.782 - -
Both parents 1.07 (0.98 - 1.16) 0.154 - -
Meal with parents or guardians
No Reference Reference
Yes 1.07 (1.02 - 1.13) 0.010 1.09 (1.02 - 1.16) 0.015
Missing classes without permission from parents or guardians
Reference - -
Yes 0.94 (0.89 - 0.99) 0.027 - -
Knowledge of parents or guardians about their children’s activities in their free time
Never/rarely Reference Reference
Sometimes 1.06 (0.97 - 1.16) 0.202 1.01 (0.91 - 1.13) 0.202
Most times/always 1.23 (1.16 - 1.32) < 0.001 1.19 (1.10 - 1.28) < 0.001
Current smoking
No Reference - -
Yes 1.01 (0.92 - 1.11) 0.771 - -
Current alcohol abuse
No Reference Reference
Yes 1.15 (1.10 - 1.20) < 0.001 1.10 (1.05 - 1.16) < 0.001
Current drug use
No Reference - -
Yes 1.12 (1.02 - 1.23) 0.013 - -
Sexual behavior in last intercourse
Did not have intercourse Reference Reference
With condom 1.07 (1.02 - 1.11) 0.002 1.01 (0.95 - 1.07) 0.821
Without condom 1.10 (1.03 - 1.17) 0.007 1.09 (1.01 - 1.17) 0.018
Having had an injury
No Reference - -
Yes 1.08 (1.02 - 1.15) 0.013 - -
Having suffered physical violence in the last 12 months
No Reference Reference
Yes 1.15 (1.10 - 1.21) < 0.001 1.09 (1.02 - 1.16) 0.007
Feeling alone
Never/rarely Reference - -
Sometimes 1.14 (1.08 - 1.21) < 0.001 - -
Most of the time/Always 1.07 (0.99 - 1.15) 0.078 - -
Chest wheezing
No Reference Reference
Yes 1.22 (1.17 - 1.28) < 0.001 1.15 (1.09 - 1.20) < 0.001
No Reference Reference
Yes 1.06 (1.00 - 1.12) 0.057 1.07 (1.01 - 1.14) 0.018
Habit of washing hands
No Reference Reference
Yes 1.11 (1.06 - 1.16) < 0.001 1.09 (1.03 - 1.15) < 0.001
Attitude towards body weight
Does nothing Reference Reference
Losing weight 1.20 (1.13 - 1.27) < 0.001 1.09 (1.03 - 1.17) 0.005
Gaining weight 1.15 (1.08 - 1.23) < 0.001 1.10 (1.03 - 1.18) 0.004
Maintaining weight 1.19 (1.12 - 1.26) < 0.001 1.16 (1.09 - 1.23) < 0.001
Self-assessment of health status
Very good Reference - -
Good 1.08 (1.02 - 1.15) 0.009 - -
Regular 1.05 (0.99 - 1.12) 0.097 - -
Bad 1.11 (0.98 - 1.25) 0.101 - -
Very bad 1.13 (1.02 - 1.25) 0.023 - -

PR: prevalence ratio; PRa: adjusted prevalence ratio; 95%CI: 95% confidence interval; *model adjusted by age and Region of residence.

On the other hand, being male (PR = 0.86; p < 0.001), having black (PR = 0.86; p < 0.001) and yellow skin color/race (PR = 0.87; p = 0.029) and being a public school student (PR = 0.87; p < 0.001) were factors associated with lower demand for health services or professionals.


More than half of the Brazilian students aged 13 to 17 years sought a health service or professional in the last 12 months. This prevalence was higher than that observed in the study with data from PeNSE 2012, which estimated a prevalence of 48.0%8, but similar to the findings of a systematic review on the use of health services in Brazil4. Studies that address this issue are relevant because they guide health services to adapt their work processes to meet the specific demands of each phase of the individual’s life cycle.

Female students showed greater demand for health services or professionals. The findings are similar to the aforementioned study8, as well as to the studies that evaluated the adult population4,18,19,20. The demand for healthcare among females has been attributed to the concern with self-care4,20,21,22, and these findings indicate that such a practice occurs since adolescence. The fact that men seek health services with a lower frequency can result in late diagnoses, which could hamper the control and treatment of diseases23. It is necessary to go beyond the common sense that men are strong beings, who hardly gets sick and, consequently, seek health services less frequently21.

Adolescents of white race/skin color, who studied in private schools and had mothers with higher level of schooling presented a high association with the demand for health services or professionals. Considering such characteristics as income proxy, the effects are similar to those presented by studies among adults24. Research indicates that individuals belonging to lower income groups seek less health services regardless of age25,26,27,28. Data from the National Household Sample Survey (PNAD) indicate an increase in the use of health services and point to a reduction in the inequalities of access to primary health care29-30, but such inequalities persist, mainly in relation to income. These differences may relate the demand for care, which is higher among people with lower income31,32,33,34.

The relationship with the family, evidenced by the association of the meals with parents or guardians and their knowledge about the students’ activities on their free time, was important in the demand for health services. These characteristics are relevant in several studies among adolescents8,35,36. The family has a protective role with adolescents, not only in stimulating the search for health services or professionals, but also in relation to safe sexual practices37 and non-consumption of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs38, for example.

Adolescents who reported current alcohol use sought health services more frequently. In the study that dealt with the alcohol consumption pattern of adult users of Primary Health Care (PHC) services in the city of Bebedouro, São Paulo, it was identified that 78% of the users were abstinent or were in a low risk use situation, and 22% made problematic use of alcohol. According to the authors, PHC is a space not only for identifying alcohol-related harm, but also for implementing strategies to reduce it, especially among individuals who are more susceptible to morbidity and mortality related to alcohol use39.

On the other hand, smoking and drug use did not remain associated with the demand for health services or professionals in the multiple model. The hypothesis for this is that adolescents who consume tobacco products and try drugs also make use of alcohol. The use of these individual substances alone is rare, as described above39.

Adolescent sexual life begins earlier and earlier, associated with unprotected sex and to a largest number of partners throughout life40. In the present study, the practice of sexual intercourse without a condom was associated with the outcome. An explanatory hypothesis is that adolescents who do not use condoms may have later concerns about a sexually transmitted infection or even an unwanted pregnancy due to non-use or inappropriate condom use41. Health services should be able to accommodate adolescents seeking health care, and to seize this opportunity to address this issue.

Travassos et al. argue that the demand for health services is higher among those who have health needs or who are ill1. They also highlight aspects such as the disease’s severity and urgency. PeNSE data corroborate the study cited, since the adolescents interviewed who sought health services were also those who reported health problems/conditions, such as asthma, wheezing, physical violence in the last few days and toothache, as well as those who were trying to lose, gain or maintain weight. The individual’s behavior towards the disease26,42,43,44 and the search for health promotion and prevention practices are health needs described as determinants of access and use of health services42,43. There is evidence of increased demand for health services in the case of accidents, injuries and rehabilitation; on the other hand, there was a decrease in the demand for prevention actions25. The habit of washing hands before meals and after going to the bathroom was associated with the demand for health services. The promotion of these practices is a component that has broad implications on the general health of individuals42 and is indicative of healthy habits43.

The choice of adjusting for age was made due to evidence of the increase in the demand for health services and professionals with the increase in the age of adolescents8,44. Regarding the Region of residence, adequacy was necessary, because in Brazil, despite the reduction of inequality in the last decades, there is still an unbalanced distribution of health services (which are concentrated in the Southeast)45,46.

Contrary to what was verified among students from Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, in 20015, health self-assessment did not remain associated with the outcome studied. However, it is emphasized that both the cited study and this study used other variables in the multiple model.

As a limitation of this study, it is noteworthy that PeNSE is representative of adolescents who attended school and who were present on the day of questionnaire application. School absenteeism itself may be related to the demand for health services or professionals. This is a cross-sectional study and, by its very nature, it is not possible to infer whether the demand for health services was the cause or the consequence of some of the associated variables17. In addition, the high prevalence of demand for health services may be due to the greater time investigated (360 days); however, long recall periods result in a greater likelihood of individuals forgetting to mention the demand for health services4.

A strong point that can be highlighted in the present study is the possibility of evaluating and monitoring the indicator of service use among adolescents, since this population has been historically at the margin of the health system. It is also worth noting that demand for health services increased by almost 10% for this population group, with one hypothesis being the expansion of the Family Health Strategy9,47 and the Health in School Program48,49, which enabled spaces aimed at meeting demands and at health education.


Studies on the demand for health services and professionals by adolescents are relevant since they are infrequent and can contribute to the organization of care25 and to the planning of programs and policies for this population. In addition, they can guide the Health in School Program (PSE) to address issues such as health promotion and integral education (promotion, prevention, diagnosis and recovery and training), with a view to comprehensive health care for children, adolescents and young people in basic public education, through the intersectoral articulation of public health and education networks and other social networks.

As well as among adults, female adolescents, private school students with more educated mothers, who present risk behaviors, and who reported suffering from a health problem sought more health services. Another important point was the general increase in demand when compared to results from the survey’s previous edition.

It is important to take into account the characteristics of these adolescents, both regarding the organization of health services and the adequate training of professionals in health care, allowing a space of approach to deal with subjects related to the risks to which these adolescents are exposed.


1. Travassos C, Martins M. Uma revisão sobre os conceitos de acesso e utilização de serviços de saúde. Cad Saúde Pública. 2004; 20(Supl. 2): S190-8. ]

2. Travassos C, Viacava F. Acesso e uso de serviços de saúde em idosos residentes em áreas rurais, Brasil, 1998 e 2003. Cad Saúde Pública. 2007; 23: 2490-502. ]

3. Ribeiro MCSA, Barata RB, Almeida MF, Silva ZP. Perfil sociodemográfico e padrão de utilização de serviços de saúde para usuários e não-usuários do SUS - PNAD 2003. Ciênc Saúde Colet. 2006; 11(4): 1011-122. ]

4. Araújo MEA, Silva MT, Andrade KRC, Galvão TF, Pereira MG. Prevalência de utilização de serviços de saúde no Brasil: revisão sistemática e metanálise. Epidemiol Serv Saúde. 2017; 26(3): 589-604. ]

5. Claro LBL, March C, Mascarenhas MTM, Castro IAB, Rosa MLG. Adolescentes e suas relações com serviços de saúde: estudo transversal em escolares de Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública. 2006; 22: 1565-74. ]

6. Nunes BP, Flores TR, Duro SMS, Saes MO, Tomasi E, Santiago AD, et al. Adolescent use of health services: a population-based cross-sectional study Pelotas-RS, Brazil, 2012. Epidemiol Serv Saúde. 2015; 24(3): 411-20. ]

7. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística. Pesquisa Nacional de Saúde do Escolar. PeNSE 2012. Rio de Janeiro: Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística; 2013. [ Links ]

8. Oliveira MM, Andrade SSCA, Oliveira-Campos M, Malta DC. Fatores associados à procura de serviços de saúde entre escolares brasileiros: uma análise da Pesquisa Nacional de Saúde do Escolar (PeNSE), 2012. Cad Saúde Pública. 2015; 31(8): 1603-14. ]

9. Brasil. Ministério da Saúde. Departamento de Atenção Básica. Histórico da Cobertura da Saúde da Família [Internet]. [citado 13 dez. 2017]. Disponível em: ]

10. Chiavegatto Filho ADP, Wang Y-P, Malik AM, Takaoka J, Viana MC, Andrade LH. Determinantes de uso de serviços de saúde: análise multinível da região metropolitana de São Paulo. Rev Saúde Pública. 2015; 49: 1-12. ]

11. Deslandes SF. Concepções em pesquisa social: articulações com o campo da avaliação em serviços de saúde. Cad Saúde Pública. 1997; 13: 103-7. ]

12. Fernandes LCL, Bertoldi AD, Barros AJD. Utilização dos serviços de saúde pela população coberta pela Estratégia de Saúde da Família. Rev Saúde Pública. 2009; 43: 595-603. ]

13. Mendes ACG, Araújo Júnior JLCA, Furtado BMAS, Duarte PO, Santiago RF, Costa TR. Avaliação da satisfação dos usuários com a qualidade do atendimento nas grandes emergências do Recife, Pernambuco, Brasil. Rev Bras Saúde Materno Infant. 2009; 9: 157-65. ]

14. Starfield B, Shi L, Macinko J. Contribution of primary care to health systems and health. Milbank Q. 2005; 83: 457-502. ]

15. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística. Pesquisa Nacional de Saúde do Escolar, 2015. Rio de Janeiro: Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística; 2016. [ Links ]

16. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística. Pesquisa Nacional de Saúde do Escolar, 2009. Rio de Janeiro: Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística; 2009. [ Links ]

17. Oliveira MM, Oliveira-Campos M, Andreazzi MAR, Malta DC. Características da Pesquisa Nacional de Saúde do Escolar-PeNSE. Epidem Serv Saúde. 2017; 26(3): 605-16. ]

18. Luz TCB, Malta DC, Sá NNB, Silva MMA, Lima-Costa MF. Violências e acidentes entre adultos mais velhos em comparação aos mais jovens: evidências do Sistema de Vigilância de Violências e Acidentes (VIVA), Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública. 2011; 27: 2135-42. ]

19. Gomes R, Nascimento EF, Araújo FC. Por que os homens buscam menos os serviços de saúde do que as mulheres? As explicações de homens com baixa escolaridade e homens com ensino superior. Cad Saúde Pública. 2007; 23: 565-74. ]

20. Moraes SA, Lopes DA, Freitas IC. Sex-specific differences in prevalence and in the factors associated to the search for health services in a population based epidemiological study. Rev Bras Epidemiol. 2014; 17(2): 323-40. ]

21. Levorato CD, Mello LM, Silva AS, Nunes AA. Fatores associados à procura por serviços de saúde numa perspectiva relacional de gênero. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva. 2014; 19(4). ]

22. Castanheira CHC, Pimenta AM, Lana FCF, Malta DC. Utilização de serviços públicos e privados de saúde pela população de Belo Horizonte. Rev Bras Epidemiol. 2014; 17: 256-66. ]

23. Silva VLQ. Sexualidade masculina e saúde do homem na estratégia de saúde da família: trabalhando com a equipe a pesquisa-ação. São Paulo: Universidade de São Paulo; 2010. [ Links ]

24. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística. Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra de Domicílios. Um panorama da saúde no Brasil: acesso e utilização dos serviços, condições de saúde e fatores de risco e proteção à saúde 2008. Rio de Janeiro: Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística; 2010. [ Links ]

25. Silva ZP, Ribeiro MCSA, Barata RB, Almeida MF. Perfil sociodemográfico e padrão de utilização dos serviços de saúde do Sistema Único de Saúde (SUS), 2003-2008. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva. 2011; 16: 3807-16. ]

26. Travassos C, Viacava F, Fernandes C, Almeida CM. Desigualdades geográficas e sociais na utilização de serviços de saúde no Brasil. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva. 2000; 5: 133-49. ]

27. Dias-da-Costa JS, Presser AD, Zanolla AF, Ferreira DG, Perozzo G, Freitas IBA, et al. Utilização dos serviços ambulatoriais de saúde por mulheres: estudo de base populacional no Sul do Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública. 2008; 24: 2843-51. ]

28. Bastos GAN, Fasolo LR. Fatores que influenciam a satisfação do paciente ambulatorial em uma população de baixa renda: um estudo de base populacional. Rev Bras Epidemiol. 2013; 16(1): 114-24. ]

29. Andrade MV, Noronha KVMS, Menezes RM, Souza MN, Reis CB, Martins DR, et al. Desigualdade socioeconômica no acesso aos serviços de saúde no Brasil: um estudo comparativo entre as regiões brasileiras em 1998 e 2008. Econ Apl. 2013; 17(4): 623-45. ]

30. Politi R. Desigualdade na utilização de serviços de saúde entre adultos: uma análise dos fatores de concentração da demanda. Econ Apl. 2014; 18(1): 117-37. ]

31. Almeida APSC, Nunes BP, Duro SMS, Facchini LA. Determinantes socioeconômicos do acesso a serviços de saúde em idosos: revisão sistemática. Rev Saúde Pública. 2017; 51: 50. ]

32. Nunes BP, Thumé E, Tomasi E, Duro SMS, Facchini LA. Socioeconomic inequalities in the access to and quality of health care services. Rev Saúde Pública. 2014; 48(6): 968-76. ]

33. Núñez A, Chi C. Equity in health care utilization in Chile. Int J Equity Health. 2013; 12(1): 58. ]

34. Viacava F, Bellido JG. Condições de saúde, acesso a serviços e fontes de pagamento, segundo inquéritos domiciliares. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva. 2016; 21(2): 351-70. ]

35. Freire MCM, Leles CR, Sardinha LMV, Paludetto Junior M, Malta DC, Peres MA. Dor dentária e fatores associados em adolescentes brasileiros: a Pesquisa Nacional de Saúde do Escolar (PeNSE), Brasil, 2009. Cad Saúde Pública. 2012; 28(Supl.): S133-45. ]

36. Smetana JG, Campione-Barr N, Metzger A. Adolescent development in interpersonal and societal contexts. Annu Rev Psychol. 2006; 57: 255-84. ]

37. Oliveira-Campos M, Giatti L, Malta D, Barreto SM. Contextual factors associated with sexual behavior among Brazilian adolescents. Ann Epidemiol. 2013; 23: 629-35. ]

38. Horta R, Horta B, Costa A, Prado R, Oliveira-Campos M, Malta D. Uso na vida de substâncias ilícitas e fatores associados entre escolares brasileiros. Pesquisa Nacional de Saúde do Escolar (PeNSE 2012). Rev Bras Epidem. 2014; 17(Supl. 1): 31-45. ]

39. Vargas D, Bittencourt MN, Barroso LP. Padrões de consumo de álcool de usuários de serviços de atenção primaria a saúde de um município brasileiro. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva. 2014; 19(1). ]

40. Shafii T, Stovel K, Holmes K. Association between condom use at sexual debut and subsequent sexual trajectories: a longitudinal study using biomarkers. Am J Public Health. 2007; 97: 1090-5. ]

41. Granero R, Poni ES, Sánchez Z. Sexuality among 7th, 8th and 9th grade students in the state of Lara, Venezuela. The Global School Health Survey, 2003-2004. P R Health Sci J. 2007; 26: 213-9. [ Links ]

42. Curtis V, Cairncross S, Yonli R. Domestic hygiene and diarrhoea - pinpointing the problem. Trop Med Int Health. 2000; 5: 22-32. [ Links ]

43. Cardoso SMM, Rodrigues AP. Promoção da saúde a partir das demandas relacionadas à higiene e saúde na escola." Revista de Ciência e Inovação. 2016;1(2):93-104. [citado 12 set. 2017]. Disponível em: ]

44. Vingilis E, Wade T, Seeley J. Predictors of adolescent health care utilization. J Adolesc. 2007; 30(5): 773-800. ]

45. Cambota JN. Desigualdades sociais na utilização de cuidados de saúde no Brasil e seus determinantes [Internet]. São Paulo: Universidade de São Paulo; 2012 [citado 12 set. 2017]. Disponível em: [ Links ]

46. Scheffer M (Coord). Demografia Médica no Brasil 2015. Departamento de Medicina Preventiva, Faculdade de Medicina da USP. Conselho Regional de Medicina do Estado de São Paulo. Conselho Federal de Medicina. São Paulo: 2015. 284 p. ISBN: 978-85-89656-22-1 ]

47. Atun R, Andrade LOM, Almeida G, Cotlear D, Dmytraczenko T, Frenz P, et al. Health-system reform and universal health coverage in Latin America. Lancet. 2015; 385(9974): 1230-47. ]

48. Sousa MC, Esperidião MA, Medina MG. A intersetorialidade no Programa Saúde na Escola: avaliação do processo político-gerencial e das práticas de trabalho. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva. 2017; 22(6): 1781-90. ]

49. Teixeira MB, Casanova A, Oliveira CCM, Engstrom EM, Bodstein RCA. Avaliação das práticas de promoção da saúde: um olhar das equipes participantes do Programa Nacional de Melhoria do Acesso e da Qualidade da Atenção Básica. Saúde Debate. 2014; 38(Esp.): 52-68. ]

Financial support: none.

Received: October 20, 2017; Revised: February 02, 2018; Accepted: February 08, 2018

Corresponding author: Max Moura de Oliveira. Rua Taguá, 440, Liberdade, CEP: 01508-010, São Paulo, SP, Brasil. E-mail:

Conflict of interests: nothing to declare

Creative Commons License Este é um artigo publicado em acesso aberto sob uma licença Creative Commons