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Preventative Healthcare

25 Steps to Help Curb Health Problems

By Miranda Hitti

WebMD Medical News Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD, on Wednesday, May 17, 2006

May 17, 2006 – The Partnership for Prevention has released a report listing the top 25 preventive health services.

The report "Priorities for America's Health: Capitalizing on Life-Saving, Cost-Effective Preventive Strategies" was funded by the CDC and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

"Currently, about 95% of health care dollars in the United States is spent on treating diseases, with relatively little attention paid to preventing diseases, which should be a national priority," states former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, MD, Ph.D., in a Partnership for Prevention news release.

"These are the preventive health services that offer the biggest bang for the buck," says Satcher, who chaired the panel that drafted the list.

List of Top 25 Preventive Health Services

Here is the report's list of the top 25 preventive health services, along with the score assigned by the panel (with 10 being the highest score).

The list starts with the most highly rated services, but many benefits had tied scores. For instance, three services earned the top 10; six received the second-place score of eight. To compare rankings, could you check the services' scores? • Discussing daily aspirin use in men aged 40 and older, women aged 50 and older, and others at increased risk for heart disease to help prevent cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke: 10 • Childhood immunizations: 10 • Screening adults for tobacco use and providing brief counseling to help them quit using tobacco: 10 • Colorectal cancer screening among adults aged 50 and older: 8 • Measuring blood pressure in all adults and using high blood pressure medicines to prevent cardiovascular disease: 8 • Influenza immunization for adults aged 50 and older: 8 • Pneumococcal vaccination for people aged 65 and older: 8 • Screening adults about alcohol use and providing brief counseling with follow-up: 8 • Vision screening for adults aged 65 and older: 8 • Cervical cancer screening (Pap smears) among women who have been sexually active: 7 • Cholesterol screening and lipid-lowering drugs, if needed, for men aged 35 and older, women aged 45 and older with other risk factors for coronary heart disease: 7 • Breast cancer screening for females aged 50 and older; discussions and options to start screening at age 40-49: 6 • Screening sexually active women under 25 years old for chlamydia, the most common sexually transmitted bacterial disease in the U.S.: 6 • Counseling adolescent and adult females to use calcium supplements to prevent fractures: 6 • Vision screening in children less than 5 years old: 6

• Folic acid supplementation to help prevent congenital disabilities: 5 • Obesity screening: 5 • Depression screening: 4 • Hearing screening: 4 • Injury prevention counseling: 4 • Osteoporosis screening: 4 • Cholesterol screening for high-risk adults: 2 • Diabetes screening: 2 • Diet advice: 2 • Tetanus-diphtheria booster vaccination: 2

About the List

A 24-member panel of experts created the list. Those experts came from health insurance plans, an employer group, academia, clinical practice, and government health agencies.

The panel created the list and scores based on two factors: • Disease, injury, and premature death that would be prevented if the service was delivered at recommended intervals over a lifetime. • Cost-effectiveness.

The Partnership for Prevention is a national, nonprofit organization. Its members include several state health departments, health agencies (including the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, and March of Dimes), and drug and insurance companies.

SOURCES: Partnership for Prevention, "Priorities for America's Health: Capitalizing on Life-Saving, Cost-Effective Preventive Services." Partnership for Prevention: "Members of Partnership for Prevention." News release, Partnership for Prevention.

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