Obesity constitutes a global epidemic which is rapidly becoming a major public health problem in many parts of the world, threatening peoples' health and quality of life. The aim of our study was to estimate the prevalence and impact of overweight and obesity on physician consultations and frequency of use and furthermore, to investigate whether physician consultations in each of the groups defined by BMI level correspond to the need for care implied by health risk level, using logistic regression models. The survey was carried out in Greece in 2006 and involved complete data from 645 individuals consulted by physicians. Overweight and obese users constituted 41.7% and 19% of the sample respectively. The findings showed firstly that the odds of obese individuals visiting a physician (OR 2.15) or making more than three visits (OR 2.12) was doubled compared to the odds of individuals with normal weight. Secondly, we conclude that physician consultations in overweight and obese subgroups as well as the frequency of visits were predicted by factors such as co-morbidities, low HRQL, low educational level which are associated directly or indirectly with obesity, and thus with a greater health need, assuming vertical equity in the utilization of such services.
Keywords: Greece; health needs; obesity; overweight; physician consultations.