Disparities in Healthcare Utilization Among Adults with Obesity in the United States, Findings from the NHIS: 2006–2015
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Few studies of disparities consider logistical hurdles faced by adults with obesity in obtaining needed healthcare. This study compared adults with obesity to adults without obesity on self-reported practical aspects of receiving healthcare including ease of seeing a doctor and wait times for appointments. Serious psychological distress and chronic health conditions are prevalent in adults with obesity. Because serious psychological distress and number of chronic health conditions can act as confounders in any observed differences between the adults with and without obesity in their use of healthcare, we have examined these differences independent of serious psychological distress and chronic health conditions. Adults 18 to 64 years sampled from the 2006–2015 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) (n = 74,598) were examined on five self-reported indicators: does not need a doctor, waited too long in the doctor’s office, and to get an appointment, year since having seen a doctor, and saw a doctor ten times or more in the last 12 months. Multivariable models adjusted for serious psychological distress, chronic health conditions, gender, age, race/ethnicity, income, health coverage, and survey year demonstrated that adults with obesity were more likely to wait too long to get an appointment, and in the waiting room. Adults with obesity report not needing doctors despite seeing doctors frequently. Greater attention is needed to understand barriers to health care utilization in adults with obesity.
KeywordsObesity Stigma Health care access Disparities
All authors provided (1) substantial contributions to conception and design, or acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data for the article; (2) drafting of the article or reviewing it and revising it critically for important intellectual content; and (3) final approval of the version to be published.
The authors report no financial relationships with commercial interests.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
No authors had a conflict of interest in the production of this manuscript.
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