The relation among education, disease prevalence, and frequency of health service utilization was analyzed using data from the Swiss National Health Survey SOMIPOPS, conducted in 1981-1983 on a randomly selected sample of 4,255 individuals, representative of the entire Swiss population. The prevalence of several important cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, osteoarticular, and psychiatric disorders was higher among less educated individuals; only allergic conditions were directly associated with indicators of social class. More educated individuals reported lower frequencies of general practitioner visits, but higher frequencies of specialized consultations. These findings confirm that education is an important determinant not only of mortality but also of morbidity and health-care utilization and require careful consideration in terms of the planning and evaluation of health services.
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