Use of preventive services of overweight and obese Europeans aged 50-79 years

J Gen Intern Med. 2007 Jul;22(7):923-9. doi: 10.1007/s11606-007-0181-9. Epub 2007 Apr 3.


Background: Although frequent contacts with health care systems may represent more opportunities to receive preventive services, excess body weight has been linked to decreased access to preventive services and quality of care.

Objective: The objective of the study is to examine whether obese and overweight, compared to normal weight persons, have different experiences of preventive care.

Design: The study design is cross-sectional. Baseline data (2004) of a population-based survey conducted in 10 European countries.

Participants: The participants were noninstitutionalized adults, 13,859, (50-79 years) with body mass index (BMI) > or = 18.5 kg/m2, who answered the baseline and supplementary questionnaires (overall response rate of 51.3%) of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE).

Measurements: BMI was divided into normal weight (BMI, 18.5-24.9 kg/m2), overweight (BMI, 25.0-29.9 kg/m2), and obesity (BMI >30 kg/m2). Reported dependent variables were: influenza immunization, colorectal and breast cancer screening, discussion and recommendation about physical activity, and weight measurement. We performed multivariate logistic regressions, adjusting for age, sex, education, income, smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and country.

Results: Overweight and obesity were associated with higher odds of receiving influenza immunization but not with receipt of breast or colorectal cancer screening. Overweight and obese individuals mentioned more frequently that their general practitioner discussed physical activity or checked their weight, which was not explained by chronic diseases or the number of ambulatory care visits.

Conclusions: These first data from SHARE did not suggest that overweight or obesity were associated with decreased use of preventive services.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity*
  • Overweight*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Preventive Medicine*
  • Primary Health Care*