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Young adults visit doctors least at an age when risky behavior peaks
Date:9/25/2009

When adolescents graduate to young adulthood, their preventive care tends to fall by the wayside. A recent study has found that young adults are much less likely to use ambulatory or preventive care, even though their mortality rate is more than twice that of adolescents.

"Young adults are generally a healthy population, but many risky behaviors peak in young adulthood and few resources are available for this population," said Robert J.Fortuna, M.D., M.P.H., senior instructor in Pediatrics and Internal Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC). "Despite having the highest rate of many preventable diseases, young adults garner relatively little attention from advocacy groups, researchers or policymakers."

Before the study was published in the most recent bi-monthly edition of Annals of Internal Medicine, little was known about how young adults use ambulatory care. The study's findings provide a new focus on health care in young adulthood, breaking down patterns based on sex, race and ethnicity, in addition to rates of preventive care in young adults.

Fortuna conducted the study with two other URMC researchers, Brett W. Robbins, M.D., associate professor in Pediatrics and Internal Medicine, and Jill S. Halterman, M.D., M.P.H, associate professor in Pediatrics.

The study found that young adults, especially black and Hispanic males, underuse ambulatory medical care and infrequently receive preventive care. Young men had nearly half the preventive care visits compared with adolescents (age 15 to 19 years) and older adults (age 30 to 39 years). Young men also had less than one-fourth the rate of preventive care visits than young women did. On average, young men were seen less than once every 9 years for preventive care and young men without insurance were seen once every 25 years, according to the study.

Young black and Hispanic men received less care in general than young white men and half t
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Contact: Katie Sauer
katie_sauer@urmc.rochester.edu
585-276-4298
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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