Mid-Age women's consultations with acupuncturists: A longitudinal analysis of 11,200 women, 2001-2007

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Journal Article
Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2011, 17 (8), pp. 735 - 740
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Objectives: The objectives of this study were to chart the patterns and determine the factors associated with acupuncture consultations among a large cohort of mid-aged women in Australia over a 6-year period. Design: A longitudinal analysis of questionnaires completed in 2001, 2004, and 2007 as part of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health. Statistical analyses included Generalized Estimating Equations. Subjects: Mid-aged women (n=11,200) were randomly selected from the Australian Medicare database, with oversampling of women from rural and remote areas. Outcome measure: The outcome measure was consultation with an acupuncturist in the 12 months prior to each survey. Results: The percentage of women who consulted an acupuncturist in the years 2001, 2004, and 2007 were 4.2%, 4.3%, and 5.9%, respectively. Only 0.5% of women consulted with an acupuncturist at all survey periods, 2.0% at two survey periods, and 7.4% at only one survey period. Acupuncture consultations significantly increased if the women had back problems (odds ratio [OR]=1.5), arthritis (OR=1.3), had higher levels of education (OR=1.9), were high users of general practitioners/family practitioners (OR=2.6), and high users of biomedical specialists (OR=1.4). Conclusions: Use of acupuncturists among mid-age women appears to be strongly influenced by poor physical health. The percentage of women in the community who use acupuncture remained relatively consistent over the study period. Women do not tend to consistently use acupuncture over time, but instead appear to use acupuncture as a one-off treatment or at selected time points. © 2011 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
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