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Revista de Saúde Pública

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Abstract

CAPILHEIRA, Marcelo F  and  SANTOS, Iná da Silva dos. Individual factors associated with medical consultation by adults. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2006, vol.40, n.3, pp. 436-443. ISSN 0034-8910.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89102006000300011.

OBJECTIVE: To identify individual characteristics associated with a higher likelihood of consulting a physician and excess physician appointments. METHODS: We carried out a population-based study including 3,100 adults (>20 years) living in the city of Pelotas, Southern Brazil between October and December 2003, using a multi-stage cluster sampling strategy. Subjects were interviewed to obtain socioeconomic, demographic, and health-related data, as well as information on the number of medical appointments in the past three months. Overusage was defined as >4 appointments. Multivariate analysis was carried out using Poisson regression based on a conceptual model, and results are presented as prevalence ratios and their respective 95% confidence intervals. RESULTS: The prevalence of medical appointments was 55.1%. Higher likelihood of consulting a physician was associated with female sex, hospital admission in the past year, former smoking, diabetes, and arterial hypertension. We found an increasing trend in the number of appointments with increasing age (p<0.001) and decreasing self-perceived health status (p<0.001). Prevalence of over utilization was 9%, and showed positive association with increased body mass index, (p=0.01), increasing age (p=0.006), and decreasing self-perceived health status (p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Presence and over utilization of physician appointments were associated with female sex, hypertension, and hospital admission in past year, as well as with increasing age and decreasing self-perceived health status.

Keywords : Health services [utilization]; Health services accessibility [statistics & numerical data]; Health services needs and demand [statistics & numerical data]; Cross-sectional studies.

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