Health  Vol.6 No.19 , November 2014
Obesity and the Demand for Canadian Physician Services
Author(s) James McIntosh
ABSTRACT
The objective of this study is to determine the role that obesity plays in how often Canadians visit their family doctors or general practitioners. Doctor visits are analyzed using mixtures of ordered probability models applied to sample survey data from the 2010 Canadian Community Health Survey. This procedure is shown to be superior in terms of likelihood criteria to the more usual one involving count models of doctor visits. The main result is that obesity is one of the leading causes of doctor visits. Obesity has become more important in the demand for physician services than smoking for all Canadians. Other factors including diabetes, the individual’s level of education, position in the income distribution, and drinking behavior are also important. The application of latent class’s ordered probability models by age-group and gender leads to results which are different from what others have found. While obesity is shown to be a serious problem in Canada, it has not yet reached the stage which some researchers have described as critical.

Cite this paper
McIntosh, J. (2014) Obesity and the Demand for Canadian Physician Services. Health, 6, 2624-2631. doi: 10.4236/health.2014.619301.
References
[1]   Public Health Agency of Canada and Canadian Institute for Health Information Canada (2011) Obesity in Canada. Queens Printer, Ottawa.

[2]   Peeters, A., Barendregt, J.J., Willekens, F., Mackenbach, J.P., Mamum, A.A. and Bonneux, L. (2010) Obesity in Adulthood and Its Consequences for Life Expectancy: A Life-Table Analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine, 138, 24-32.

[3]   Statistics Canada (2013) Canadian Community Health Survey, 2011-2012. [Ma-chine Readable Data File]. Ottawa, ON.

[4]   Trakas, K., Lawrence, K. and Shear, N.H. (1999) Utilization of Health Care Resources by Obese Canadians. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 160, 1457-1462.

[5]   Dunlop, S., Coyte, P.C. and McIsaac, W. (2000) Socio-Economic Status and the Utilisation of Physicians’ Services: Results from the Canadian National Population Health Survey. Social Science and Medicine, 51, 123-133.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0277-9536(99)00424-4

[6]   Curtis, L.J. (2006) Snapshots of Health-Care Utilization in Canada: Is the Picture Changing? 1978-1998. In: Beach, C.M., Chaykowski, R.P., Shortt, S., St-Hilaire, F. and Sweetman, A., Eds., Health Services Restructuring in Canada: New Evidence and New Directions, McGill-Queens University Press, Kingston, Ontario.

[7]   McIntosh, J. (2008) Is Alcohol Consumption Good for You? Results from the 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey. Addiction Research and Theory, 16, 553-563.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/16066350802011631

[8]   Winkelmann, R. (2008) Econometric Analysis of Count Data. 5th Edition, Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

[9]   Cameron, A.C. and Trivedi, P.K. (2005) Microeconometrics, Methods and Applications. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

[10]   McLeod, L. (2011) A Nonparametric vs. Latent Class Model of General Practitioner Utilization: Evidence from Canada. Journal of Health Economics, 30, 1261-1279.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhealeco.2011.08.005

[11]   Vuong, Q.H. (1989) Likelihood Ratio Tests for Model Selection and Non-Nested Hypotheses. Econometrica, 57, 307-333.
http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1912557

[12]   MacMinn, W., McIntosh, J. and Yung, C. (2007) How Much Does Obesity Matter? Results from the 2001 Canadian Community Health Survey. Advances in Health Economics and Health Services Research: The Economics of Obesity, 17, 333-364.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0731-2199(06)17013-2

[13]   Gupta, N.D. and Greve, J. (2011) Overweight and Obesity and the Utilization of Primary Care Phyicians. Health Economics, 20(S1), 53-67.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hec.1711

[14]   D’Uva, T.B. (2006) Latent Class Models for Utilization of Health Care. Health Economics, 15, 329-343.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hec.1112

[15]   Deb, P. and Trivedi, P.K. (1997) Demand for Medical Care by the Elderly: A Finite Mixture Approach. Journal of Applied Econometrics, 12, 313-336.

[16]   Black, E., Holst, C., Astrup, A., Toubro, S., Echwalt, S., Petersen, O. and Sorensen, I.A. (2005) Long Term Influences of Body-Weight Changes, Independent of the Attained Weight, on Risk of Impaired Glucose Tolerance and Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetic Medicine, 22, 1199-1205.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1464-5491.2005.01615.x

[17]   Kopelman, P.G. (2000). Obesity as a Medical Problem. Nature, 404, 635-642.

 
 
Top