142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Barriers to Contraception: The Effect of Obesity Bias on Women's Contraceptive Practices

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 : 12:30 PM - 12:42 PM

Lauren Lessard, MPH, PhD Candidate , School of Public Health, Community Health Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Societal stigma and provider bias against obesity have been shown to have an overall negative impact on obese individuals’ health status.  These influences may impair an obese women’s ability to access effective methods of contraception as many methods are available by prescription only. 

A conceptual model was designed based on a review of relevant literature and theories to predict the influence of societal and physician bias on obese women’s contraceptive decision-making.  Quantitative analysis utilized the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), Cycle 2006-2010, to analyze reproductive health behaviors and contraceptive choice among women ages 20-44 that are sexually active and do not desire pregnancy. Both descriptive analyses and multivariate logistic regression were conducted for each proposed hypothesis from the conceptual model.

Even though obese women are just as likely to be sexually active as non-obese women, fewer are using contraception (83.7% vs. 90.2% using contraception, p-value <.000.)  Of those that are using contraception, obese women are choosing less effective methods such as condoms, with the percentage increasing as women’s BMI increase (BMI over 35: 41% used only condoms; BMI less than 25: 34.2% used only condoms.)  When controlling for socio-economic factors in regression analysis, obese women are still significantly less likely to use contraception than non-obese women (OR: 1.31, p-value: .003).

Obese women are at higher risk for unprotected intercourse, even after controlling for socio-economic factors.  Societal and physician bias could contribute to unintended pregnancies by limiting access to effective contraception.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Discuss impact of societal and physician bias on obese women's contraceptive decision-making. List reproductive health behaviors that vary by BMI.

Keyword(s): Contraception, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have an MPH in Maternal and Child Health and completed coursework and advanced to candidacy for a PhD in Community Health Sciences. I conducted the literature and theoretical review as well as analysis for this research study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.