Most Americans miss out on preventive health care

Less than 10% of U.S. adults receive all of the preventive health care services recommended for them, according to a new study in <i>Health Affair</i>.

Less than 10% of U.S. adults receive all of the preventive health care services recommended for them, according to a new study in <i>Health Affair</i>. Survey data for almost 2,800 individuals older than age 35 years reveals that just 8% received all 15 high-priority preventive services, including blood pressure and cholesterol checks, screening for osteoporosis and several cancers, and vaccinations. "Some of the commonly known reasons for not getting the recommended preventive services include lack of health insurance; lack of a usual doctor or nurse; and problems with health care delivery including wait times in clinics or doctors' offices," said Amanda Borsky of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in Rockville, MD, who led the study. She said that adults can ask their health care provider what preventive services are recommended for them based on their age, sex, and medical history. However, she noted that considering the amount of improvement needed, "the solution will require system-level quality improvement efforts." The researchers said that some preventive services&#8212;such as blood pressure screening&#8212;were frequently received, and more than 20% of the respondents said they had received more than three-quarters of the recommended services.