Epidemiology of physiotherapy utilization among adults and elderly

Fernando Vinholes Siqueira, Luiz Augusto Facchini, Pedro Curi Hallal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To analyze the prevalence of physiotherapy utilization and to explore the variables associated to its utilization. Methods: A population-based cross-sectional study, including 3,100 subjects aged 20 years or more living in the urban area of Pelotas, southern Brazil, was carried out. The sample was selected following a multiple-stage protocol; the census tracts delimited by the Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) were the primary sample units. Following descriptive and crude analyses, Poisson regression models taking the clustering of the sample into account were carried out. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews using a standardized and pre-tested questionnaire. Results: The lifetime utilization of physiotherapy was 30.2%; and physiotherapy utilization in the 12 months prior to the interview was reported by 4.9%. Women, elderly subjects, and those from higher socioeconomic levels were more likely to use physiotherapy. Restricting analysis to subjects who attended physiotherapy, 66% used public health services, 25% used insurance health services and 9% had private sessions. Conclusions: This is the first population-based study on physiotherapy utilization carried out in Brazil. Utilization of physiotherapy was lower than reported in both developed and developing countries. The study findings might help public health authorities to organize healthcare service in terms of this important demand.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)663-668
Number of pages6
JournalRevista de saude publica
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Cross-sectional studies
  • Educational status
  • Health services, utilization
  • Physiotherapy
  • Socio-economic factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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