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Insured Americans would rather forgo doctor check ups

FAU research shows American workers without paid sick leave aren’t using preventive health screenings.

+Jessica+Wilkerson+%7C+Contributing+Photographer
 Jessica Wilkerson | Contributing Photographer

Jessica Wilkerson | Contributing Photographer

Jessica Wilkerson | Contributing Photographer

Carlos Sanchez, Contributing Writer

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Choosing between a general check up at the doctor and a day’s pay is difficult for some Americans.

At least that’s what FAU research is suggesting. A recent study by Florida Atlantic University and Cleveland State University — published in the journal Preventive Medicine — revealed that regardless of who we are or where we are from, workers who lack paid sick leave are less likely to have received a pre-health screening in the past year.

“Our findings demonstrate that even when insured adults are provided with free preventive screenings, paid sick leave is a significant factor associated with actually using the screenings,” LeaAnne DeRigne, lead author and an associate professor in the School of Social Work said in a release.

The results of the study show American workers are putting these preventive care services off for a year:

  • 30 percent are less likely to have had a blood pressure check
  • 40 percent are less likely to have had a cholesterol check
  • 24 percent are less likely to have had a fasting blood sugar check
  • 61 percent are less likely to have gotten a flu shot
  • 19 percent are less likely to have talked to a physician
  • 23 percent are less likely to have had a Pap test

“Compared to 22 similarly developed countries, the United States is the only one that does not mandate employers to provide paid sick leave benefits or include paid sick leave in a universal social insurance plan,” DeRigne said. “American workers risk foregoing preventive health care, which could lead to the need for medical care at later stages of disease progression and at a higher cost for workers and the American health care system as a whole.”

Carlos Sanchez is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email csanch30@fau.edu.  

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