Obesity and Health Care Utilization Trends in Canada During the Period 1996-7 to 2009-10
In Canada, there have been large improvements in the management of chronic diseases attributed to obesity such as diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol since the 1990s. How this trend has impacted the health care utilization patterns of obese individuals relative to normal weight individuals is unknown in Canada. This study examined health care utilization across categories of body mass index in Canada during the time period 1996 to 2010 using the 1996-7 National Population Health Survey and the 2000-1 and 2009-10 Canadian Community Health Surveys. I found that there were significant declines in the intensity of utilization of general practitioner/family physician visits for all BMI groups and increases in the propensity to visit a specialist visit with the largest increases observed for overweight and obese individuals.