Healthcare utilization of overweight and obese Europeans aged 50-79 years

TitleHealthcare utilization of overweight and obese Europeans aged 50-79 years
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsPeytremann-Bridevaux, I, Santos-Eggimann, B
JournalJournal of Public Health
Accession Numberserval:BIB_8707DF42D131

To examine the association between overweight/obesity and healthcare utilization in middle-aged and aged Europeans. This is a baseline cross-sectional analysis of self-reported data from ten countries participating in the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), which reached an overall response rate of 62%. Included in the study were 16,695 non-institutionalized individuals aged 50-79 years with body mass indexes (BMI) =18.5 kg/m2. We used height and weight to compute BMI and categorized it into normal weight (BMI 18.5-24.9 kg/m2), overweight (BMI 25.0-29.9 kg/m2) and obesity (BMI=30 kg/m2). Dichotomous measures of healthcare utilization during the previous 12 months included any use of ambulatory care, high use of a general practitioner, visits to specialists, high use of medication, hospitalization, high number of times hospitalized and nights spent in the hospital, surgery, home healthcare and domestic help. Logistic regressions adjusted for age, socio-economic status, smoking, physical activity, alcohol consumption, country of residence, and chronic conditions. All analyses were stratified by gender. Among men and women, being overweight or obese was associated with a significantly increased risk of using ambulatory care and visiting general practitioners, as well as taking =2 medication categories. Those relationships were only partially explained by chronic conditions. Obese women were at increased risk and overweight men at decreased risk of hospitalization. For men, exploring other hospitalization dimensions did not reveal significant associations, however. Men and women, whether overweight or obese, did not report higher use of specialists, surgery, home healthcare or domestic help. For all outcomes, similar trends were found at the country level. Population-attributable fractions were highest for medication use, both for men (23%) and women (19%). Despite the rising prevalence of obesity and aging of the population, findings from SHARE show that overweight and obesity place a moderate burden on European healthcare systems, mostly by increasing ambulatory care and medication use.

Citation Key / SERVAL ID4615
Peer reviewOui


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