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3 in 4 Young Adults Go to Doctor's Office for Routine Care

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, June 15, 2011

Young adults aged 18 to 26, so-called "young invincibles" in healthcare insurance parlance, are surprisingly proactive when it comes to taking care of their health, a nationwide poll released Tuesday by the American Academy of Family Physicians shows.

Researchers found that 66% of young adults have a regular place of care and 90% of those respondents had visited their healthcare provider at least once in the past year. The majority of those visits (59%) were for regular exams or preventive services; 9% were for the management of a chronic condition.

"Our survey shows that young adults are getting preventive care," said Roland Goertz, MD, MBA, president of the AAFP in a press statement. "This kind of diligence can help them maintain their overall health, and preclude future problems. Conventional wisdom says this age group doesn't have health concerns, but one in six young adults has a chronic condition such as diabetes, hypertension, or asthma."

The physician's office was the location of choice for medical services with 76% responding that they went to a doctor's office for their routine health care. Some 62% identified their source of routine care as a family physician.

None of the young adults surveyed listed a retail health clinic or the emergency room as their routine source of medical care.

"Young adults want to establish an ongoing relationship with a primary care physician. By setting this foundation of care, they are building toward a healthy future." said Goertz.

Survey respondents indicated that conveniences such as making appointments online, corresponding via e-mail with their physician and having same-day appointments would increase the likelihood that they'd see a primary care physician more often.

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