Women More Likely to Visit a Doctor for Preventive Care
A report released Wednesday by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics confirms the "long-held belief" that women are more likely than men to visit a doctor and are twice as likely to go for preventive care (Corwin, Augusta Chronicle, 7/26). The report, based on a data analysis of the 1997 and 1998 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, finds that women made about 500 million visits to ambulatory medical care providers annually in 1997 and 1998, with the average individual woman making 4.6 visits per year (CDC, "Utilization of Ambulatory Medical Care by Women: United States, 1997-98," 7/25). Excluding pregnancy-related visits, women in general were 33% more likely than men to visit a doctor, but that difference decreased with age (CDC release, 7/26). Women ages 15-44 made 50% more visits to an ambulatory care provider than did men of the same age group, while there is "virtually no difference in the rate of visits by women and men 65 years of age and over," the report says (CDC, "Utilization of Ambulatory Medical Care by Women: United States, 1997-98," 7/25). Dr. Paul Fischer of the Augusta, Ga.-based Center for Primary Care said that the report's results are "not really surprising," adding, "It's a well-known phenomenon. It's been known for 30 years." He speculated that women are "condition[ed]" to go to a doctor for nonemergency care, while men "won't go until their health is failing." Dr. Rayvell Stallings, assistant professor at the Medical College of Georgia's Department of Family Medicine, added, "Men believe they need to be more stoic. They have the idea that something isn't serious unless they have bleeding or a limb is missing" (Augusta Chronicle, 7/26).) The report is available at http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/releases/01news/newstudy.htm.