Clinical Preventive Services
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force releases recommendations for preventive services based on rigorous review of the evidence. These recommendations, in combination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) recommended immunization schedules and the Bright Futures guidelines for children and adolescents, provide a comprehensive set of recommendations for primary and secondary preventive services for all Americans—from infancy through old age.
Children and Adolescents
- Immunizations can protect children and adolescents from serious and potentially fatal diseases, including mumps, tetanus, and chicken pox.
- Early screening can detect vision and hearing problems in young children.
- Screening children and adolescents for overweight and obesity can protect them from adverse health outcomes later in life.
- Regular checkups that measure weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels can protect men and women from chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes.
- A Pap test every 3 to 5 years for women aged 21 to 65, depending on age and testing method can protect women from cervical cancer.
- A mammogram every 2 years beginning at age 50 can detect early signs of breast cancer in women.
- Colorectal cancer screening beginning at age 50 can protect both men and women from colorectal cancer.
- “Booster” immunizations can protect both adult men and women against tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough.
Determinants of Clinical Preventive Services
Many of the strongest predictors of health and well-being fall outside of the medical care setting. Social, economic, and physical environmental factors all influence health. For example, educational attainment, stable employment, safe homes and neighborhoods, and access to appropriate clinical preventive services tend to affect health positively.
Access to clinical preventive services in various medical care and community settings must also address logistic factors, such as adequate transportation and time off for workers, to help them get the care they need. Addressing these determinants is key in reducing health disparities and improving the health of all Americans.