According to recent surveys, millennials are less likely to have a regular care physician than people in other generations. A study found that 33% of millennials don’t have a family doctor. In other words, millennials are about two times more likely to go without a doctor than people in their 50s or 60s. But why is this the case? And is this a dangerous practice?
Dr. Ali Damji, a medicine resident at Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga, attributes a lack of perceived benefit as a big reason why millennials don’t go to the doctor. “Young people don’t always see the value of having that relationship with the family doctor.”
Still, there are other reasons why millennials may not be visiting their local physician on a regular basis. The first, and most obvious factor, is simple economics. Consider that 44 million people in the United States have no health insurance at all. And an additional 38 million have inadequate health insurance. On a global scale these figures are even worse. It’s estimated that around half of the world’s population is too poor to access essential health services. Millennials who don’t go to the doctor may feel like they have no choice but to skip a visit –– just because of the associated costs.
Misinformation may also play a role in why millennials are reticent to visit the doctor. For instance, around 2 in 5 people doubt the safety of vaccines. The reality is that medical professionals are very trustworthy; yet, many millennials may find it difficult to separate medical fact from fiction. Finding accurate, trustworthy information about medicine and treatment can be quite a challenge.
Lastly, it’s possible that some millennials are just afraid of going to the doctor’s office. Most people have some anxiety about visiting medical facilities, even if relatively few have clinical iatrophobia. Still, it’s easy to see why certain medical equipment like 96 well glass bottom plates might make some people nervous. Of course, the truth is that these tools are used only to help test and treat people, but that still might not be enough to assuage some millennials.
The bad news is that while millennials may be less at-risk for certain medical conditions than their parents or grandparents, they still need to go to the doctor regularly. Ensuring that everyone in a society has access to and makes use of medical treatment is a matter of national –– and international –– health. If the recent coronavirus outbreak has taught us anything, it’s that individual health is just as important as public well-being.