Change in the prevalence of obesity and use of health care in Denmark: an observational study
Cathrine Wildenschild1,2, Mette Kjøller3, Svend Sabroe4, Mogens Erlandsen5, Berit L Heitmann1
1Research Unit for Dietary Studies, Institute of Preventive Medicine, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark; 2Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark; 3National Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark; 4Department of Epidemiology, 5Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of the increasing prevalence of obesity on the development of health care utilization in Denmark in the period 1987–2005.
Patients and methods: From a random sample of adult Danes (19,142 women and 18,335 men) who participated in the Danish Health Interview Surveys in 1987, 1994, 2000, and 2005, self-reported data on type of health care utilization within the previous 3 months and on height and weight were obtained.
Results: Adjusted odds ratios (ORs) showed that an increased use of health care among obese men compared with those of normal weight was pronounced and significant for those aged 45–64 years, whereas it was weaker and borderline significant for those aged 25–44 and 65+ years. Among obese men, there was an increasing use of health care until 2005. Among women, there was also an increased use of health care among the obese women in comparison with the normal weight women. An increase in the use of health care was found among obese women during 1987–2000, followed by a leveling of utilization during 2000–2005.
Conclusions: In conclusion, this study showed that the increase in health care utilization in Denmark could, in part, be attributed to an increase in prevalence of obesity and to an increase in health care utilization among obese men in particular.
Keywords: BMI, health care utilization, health survey, epidemiology
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