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Persons with chronic diseases often do not receive preventive care at the same rate as the general population. Reasons for this are not clear. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and controls to assess receipt of 10 preventive health services.From March through October 2006, IBD outpatients and primary care outpatients at the University of Kentucky (UK) were surveyed by trained clinicians, using chart data to augment patient response. A second sample of IBD patients from the University of Chicago was studied with a self-administered survey.One hundred and seventeen IBD subjects were enrolled at UK, 125 IBD subjects were enrolled at UCH, and 100 control subjects were recruited from UK primary care clinics. The overall age-/sex-adjusted screening rate, as measured by the screening index, was significantly lower in UK IBD subjects than in UK controls (75.1% versus 83.9%, P = 0.0002). The UCH data showed a 67% overall age-/sex-adjusted screening rate. After adjusting for insurance status, the difference in screening rates was still lower for IBD patients than for controls (71% versus 78%; P = 0.022). Neither disease type nor disease control rating predicted screening rate.Our data suggest IBD patients do not receive preventive services at the same rate as general medical patients. Preventive care is a facet of global IBD management that deserves further study.