Health care use by muslim patients during Ramadan

Nadaa B. Ali*, Harry Reyes Nieva, Sanja Percac Lima, Helen M. Shields, Jeffrey A. Linder, Nora Yusuf Osman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose. Health care utilization during Ramadan has not been examined in the United States. Methods. A retrospective review of billing and electronic health record data for Muslims (n = 2,919) and non-Muslims (n = 184,803) in primary care practices in Eastern Massachusetts. Results. Muslim patients were younger, less educated, less often commercially insured, more likely to have Medicare, and less likely to be primary English speakers (p < .0001 for all comparisons). In multivariate models, during Ramadan, Muslims, compared with non-Muslims, had a higher rate of primary care visits (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 1.06; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.01–1.11), emergency department visits (IRR, 1.60; 95% CI, 1.34–1.91), and hospitalizations (IRR, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.03–1.34). Conclusions. Important demographic differences exist between Muslim and non-Muslim patients. Muslims, compared with non-Muslims, had higher health care utilization during Ramadan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1360-1372
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of health care for the poor and underserved
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • Fasting
  • Health disparities
  • Health inequalities
  • Muslim health
  • Ramadan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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