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Am Fam Physician. 2005;72(6):1007

Most people in the United States consult a general physician each year, and some see other subspecialists. However, the proportion of people consulting a general physician who sees adults and children appears to be declining.

Millions of people consult physicians in the United States each year. According to data from the 1997 and 2002 National Health Interview Surveys, in most specialties the number and proportion of adults, children, and pregnant adult women consulting physicians increased over the five-year period1; the number and proportion of persons consulting general physicians who see adults and children are notable exceptions (see accompanying table2).

The proportion of adults who consult with general physicians who see adults and children declined by 3 percent, and the proportion of children declined even further. To the extent that general physicians who see adults and children mostly are family physicians, this finding is consistent with data from other national surveys that reveal a decline in visits to family physicians.3

Number of persons (millions) who consulted:Percentage* of total who consulted:
A physicianGeneral physicians who see adults and childrenGeneral physicians who see adults and childrenGenera physiciansObstetricians/gynecologistsOther subspecialists
Adults
19971958041662324
20022067738672326
Children
199771283978112
200273233280113
Pregnant Adult Women
199720.836578715
200230.935618717

The information and opinions contained in research from the Graham Center do not necessarily reflect the views or the policy of the AAFP.

This series is coordinated by Kenny Lin, MD, MPH, deputy editor.

A collection of Graham Center Policy One-Pagers published in AFP is available at https://www.aafp.org/afp/graham. One-Pagers are also available at https://www.graham-center.org.

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