Cholesterol screening by marital status and sex in the United States

Jim P. Stimpson, Fernando A. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Introduction: Marital status may be a predisposing factor related to preventive health screenings, which may in part explain the "healthy marriage" effect. This study investigates differences in the likelihood of being screened for cholesterol by marital status for men and women. Methods: Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys from 2003 through 2005 were used to calculate the likelihood of self-reported cholesterol screening in the past year by marital status and sex. Several rounds of interviews during a 2-year period resulted in a sample of 36,594 US adults. Results: Most married, widowed, and divorced/separated people reported cholesterol screening in the past year. The highest percentages of people being screened for cholesterol were widowed men (75%) and women (81%). By contrast, 26% of single men and 38% of single women reported cholesterol screening. In multivariate models, being unmarried was associated with lower odds of cholesterol screening among men and women. The lowest likelihood of screening was associated with widowed status for both men (odds ratio, 0.56) and women (odds ratio, 0.53). Conclusion: Marital status is a predisposing factor for cholesterol screening. Public health interventions aimed at improving preventive screening should focus on social networks, especially family members.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA55
JournalPreventing Chronic Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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