A recent study found that many Americans fail to schedule—or simply skip—regular health care checkups.
The Wellness Matters survey conducted by Aflac Incorporated found that one in four Americans skip regular checkups because they feel healthy, according to a news release. Respondents reported skipping health care visits for other reasons, including scheduling conflicts with work (23%), insurance problems (21%), fear of bad health news (18%), dislike of going to the doctor (21%), difficulty committing time to attend an appointment (16%) and simply not thinking about it (22%).
About half of adults surveyed have avoided at least one common health screening, such as a test for a particular disease.
Among Latino respondents, 31% indicated language as a barrier to preventive care; indeed, 72% of Latinos avoided a wellness screening for this reason, compared with 46% of those who did not feel language was a barrier. About 61% of respondents agreed that health care providers and organizations must work harder to engage and educate the Latino community about the importance of regular wellness visits.
A large proportion of Latino survey respondents with cancer, about 72%, were diagnosed at a routine medical exam or regularly scheduled annual screening, compared with 46% of the general population.
“The results of the Wellness Matters survey put a spotlight on the need for individuals to have a more proactive approach to their health care,” said Tom Morey, chief actuary of Aflac U.S., in the news release. “That is why Aflac is encouraging policyholders and others to take control of their health by building good health habits early, asking health and insurance providers questions and prioritizing routine wellness checkups.”
Most individuals are self-motivated to go to the doctor, according to the survey. In fact, those who had parents or caregivers who prioritized their childhood wellness appointments were more likely to schedule checkups and wellness screenings as adults.