Objective: To determine whether women delay or avoid necessary health care because they are overweight.
Design: Observational study using a self-administered survey.
Setting: A 250-bed community hospital in La Crosse, Wis.
Participants: All female nurses, nursing assistants, health unit coordinators, and general psychiatric assistants who were employed full- or part-time at the community hospital in July 1992. We received 310 (76%) responses from 409 potential respondents.
Measurements/main results: Overall, 12.7% of respondents reported delaying or canceling a physician appointment because of weight concerns. Another 2.6% kept their appointments but refused to be weighed. Only body mass index was significantly associated with appointment cancellation. The odds ratio of an obese woman (body mass index in excess of 27) delaying medical care was 3.885 (95% confidence interval, 1.509 to 10.274).
Conclusion: Obese women commonly delay health care because of weight concerns.