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Skip Navigation U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Agency for Healthcare Research Quality

Health Promotion/Disease Prevention

Preventive Services Resources

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF)
Put Prevention Into Practice
Colorectal Cancer Screening: Summary
Low Birthweight in Minority and High-Risk Women
Preventive Services for Children
Stroke Prevention: Recommendations
What You Should Know About Stroke Prevention

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Evidence Reports

Evidence Report/Technology Assessment, No. 101:
Economic Incentives for Preventive Care
Evidence Report/Technology Assessment, No. 136:
Value of the Periodic Health Evaluation
Evidence Report/Technology Assessment, No. 140:
Tobacco Use: Prevention, Cessation, and Control

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Speeches & Testimony

Date   Title
5/23/05 Testimony on AHRQ's Role in Evidence-Based Preventive Health Care Services

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Workshops & Conferences

Evidence-Based Disability and Disease Prevention for Elders: Translating Research into Community-Based Programs
Workshop Brief, December 6-7, 2004

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Research Findings

Agency Press Releases
Date   Title
10/7/08 Task Force Finds Several Methods Equally Effective for Colorectal Cancer Screening
8/4/08 Task Force Says Men Age 75 and Older Should Not Be Screened for Prostate Cancer
7/15/08 AHRQ and AARP Team to Help Adults over 50 Stay Healthy
7/3/08 Task Force Recommends Screening for Hearing Loss in All Newborns

News and Numbers

Date   Title
12/7/07 Fifty Percent of Americans Age 50 and Older Have Never Had a Colonoscopy
9/27/07 One in Six Americans Have Never Had Their Cholesterol Checked

Research Activities, August 2008:
Media coverage has boosted awareness of colorectal cancer screening, but messages need to be more targeted
Lack of physician discussion and patient refusal are two main reasons patients aren't screened for colon cancer

Research Activities, July 2008:
Women over 40 responded to changes in mammogram recommendations
Hundreds of patients would need to undergo spirometry to defer a single acute exacerbation of COPD
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that at-risk men and women be screened for certain sexually transmitted infections
Urban, low-income adults with high blood pressure are reasonably knowledgeable about their condition
Primary care doctors miss diagnosing two-thirds of people suffering from depression

Research Activities, June 2008:
AHRQ and the Ad Council encourage men to take preventive steps in their health care
Community-wide interventions prove modestly successful in reducing antibiotic use among Medicaid-insured children

Research Activities, May 2008:
AHRQ and Ad Council encourage Hispanics to become more involved in their health care
Staff education and performance feedback only slightly improve fracture prevention among nursing home residents
Most health care workers do not intend to receive pertussis vaccination, despite their increased risk of acquiring and transmitting the infection

Research Activities, April 2008:
State spending on parks and recreation and required physical education classes are linked to youth activity
Adolescents are willing to have chlamydial screening by pediatricians during urgent care visits
Maternal asthma is associated with lower birth weight
Despite lack of evidence of benefit, PSA testing for prostate cancer screening has increased dramatically
Poverty-related factors rather than frequency of primary care visits underlie racial disparities in preventive care

Research Activities, February 2008:
Age, gender, and location are keys to predicting patient fall injuries in hospitals
Study of young Head Start children links overweight to worsened asthma

Research Activities, January 2008:
Antibiotics to prevent children's recurrent urinary tract infections have unclear benefits and potential risks
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs do not appear to protect against development of lung cancer
New studies reveal the impact of drug copayment and coinsurance policies on statin and beta-blocker therapy after heart attack

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Research Activities, December 2007:
Many underinsured U.S. children are not getting needed vaccines due to the current vaccine financing system
Colorectal cancer screening can be improved at primary care practices
Doctors should advise Latino families about the safety, low cost, and dental health benefits of drinking tap water

Research Activities, November 2007:
Local touchscreen computer kiosks can help parents in urban, low-income communities learn about their child's health
Evidence of benefit is lacking for many common ways of treating osteoarthritis of the knee
Diagnosing coronary heart disease prior to a heart attack improves the chance of lowering the risk of future coronary events

Research Activities, October 2007:
Primary care doctors should encourage colorectal cancer screening and clarify that screening is not just for those with symptoms
Studies show lower colorectal cancer screening rates and access to surgery among the poor, minority, and uninsured
Barriers to timely diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer in black men arise from lower socioeconomic status
Accurate laboratory detection of bladder cancer requires close follow-up with repeated testing
Low blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids predicts increased risk for acute coronary syndrome

Research Activities, September 2007:
Perceived discrimination does not appear to affect black women's adherence to screening mammography guidelines
Women with coronary heart disease are less likely than men to use aspirin to prevent further problems
Exam room reminders and physician feedback can improve screening for chlamydia in young women during preventive care visits
Home health care following hospitalization for hip fracture may provide an opportunity to limit osteoporosis progression
Medications that relieve pain and anxiety in acute trauma patients hold promise for prevention of posttraumatic stress disorder

Research Activities, August 2007:
Early detection and aggressive treatment for prostate cancer is linked to more use of androgen-deprivation therapy for older men
Pertussis vaccination in adults can be cost-effective depending on incidence rates

Research Activities, July 2007:
Inadequate communication of mammogram results may prevent black women from fully benefiting from screening

Research Activities, June 2007:
Incentives combined with peer counseling are a cost-effective way to get adolescents to adhere to a tuberculosis control program
A fall management program in nursing homes improves care and reduces use of physical restraints
Prophylactic antibiotics given to prevent surgical site infections are more timely if given in the operating room

Research Activities, May 2007:
An educational and support program can improve blood pressure control among immigrant Korean American seniors
Parents who explore a preventive health Web site before well-child visits discuss more prevention topics with doctors
Study supports recommendation to expand use of influenza vaccine to children older than 2 years of age
More intensive treatment contributes to better hypertension control in the United States compared with western Europe
Emergency physicians ask over half of female patients if they smoke, but don't counsel or advise them to quit

Research Activities, April 2007:
Use of asthma care guidelines reduces emergency visits and improves asthma care in children
Gastrointestinal complaints in young women of low to normal weight may indicate possible eating disorders
Model shows contribution of mammography screening and adjuvant therapy to reducing breast cancer deaths from 1975 to 2000
Clinic-based and community-based strategies can promote the use of key preventive services by Latina women
Primary care doctors consider several factors when deciding whether to counsel a patient about obesity
Primary care clinicians often fail to follow practice guidelines when treating patients with sore throats
Factors leading to gout and its management are different in women and men
Rates of colorectal cancer screening increased modestly from 2000 to 2003, but still remain low
Fewer than half of rural residents in Iowa are screened for colorectal cancer
New checklists help men and women know which medical tests are needed to stay healthy ay any age

Research Activities, March 2007:
AHRQ and the Ad Council encourage patients to ask questions and get more involved with their health care
Certain types of severe abdominal injury may signal child abuse in young children
Substantially delaying the first dose of hepatitis B vaccine may lead to underimmunization of children
Children are more likely to attend a weight management program if location and time are convenient for parents
One-third of U.S. veterans suffer from arthritis, perhaps due to orthopedic injuries sustained in the military
Task Force recommends against use of aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to prevent colorectal cancer

Research Activities, February 2007:
Many children do not receive recommended well-child visits during the year, especially disadvantaged children

Research Activities, January 2007:
Missed opportunities: Too few Americans are being screened or counseled to prevent colorectal cancer, obesity, and other conditions
Mandating more time in school PE classes may not increase exercise or weight loss among American children

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Research Activities, December 2006:
Longer anti-clotting treatment appears to lower the risk of death or a heart attack in patients with drug-eluting stents

Research Activities, November 2006:
Women's self-report of mammography use conflicts with verified reports using claims data
Faxed pharmacy alerts to doctors when patients miss their antidepressant prescription refill does not improve compliance
Physicians view some financial incentives as encouraging and others as discouraging services to patients
AHRQ and United Health Foundation to distribute the latest clinical prevention recommendations
AHRQ launches Electronic Preventive Services Selector (ePSS) tool for primary care clinicians

Research Activities, October 2006:
Learning collaboratives are a potentially effective way to improve the quality of care delivered by pediatric practices

Research Activities, September 2006:
Bone protection therapy shifted from estrogen to nonestrogen anti-osteoporosis medicine after publication of the Women's Health Initiative study
Diabetes screening practices in children vary widely among pediatric clinicians

Research Activities, August 2006:
Modifying unhealthy habits in middle age may reduce the likelihood of nursing home admissions later in life

Research Activities, July 2006:
Medications to prevent blood clots after major orthopedic surgery are underused, especially in Japanese patients
Reductions in primary and preventive care use under Medicaid primary care case management are more dramatic for minority children

Research Activities, June 2006:
Increasing cervical cancer screening intervals is cost-effective for women with three consecutive normal Pap smears

Research Activities, May 2006
Nurse-anchored practice-based research centers help address health disparities
Researchers examine gender disparities in the quality of preventive care and management of heart disease and diabetes
Improved recognition and treatment of emotional problems may indirectly improve the elderly's use of preventive care
Primary care doctors often fail to prescribe "controller medications" for asthma patients after an emergency room visit
Employers are least likely to offer insurance coverage for preventive care services that provide the financial return they seek

Research Activities, March 2006
Colorectal cancer screening rates are low among Latinos and people with little education
Women need information about alternatives, risks, and benefits of hormone therapy for osteoporosis to make an informed decision

Research Activities, February 2006:
Noninvasive tests may miss breast cancer
Study provides estimates of cervical cancers that may be missed by extending screening time after consecutive negative Pap smears
A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids is unlikely to reduce the risk of cancer
Recreational physical activities improve symptoms in patients with low back pain

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Research Activities, December 2005:
Black women who live in rural areas are less likely than white women to begin mammography screening
Misconceptions about cancer screening may be common among women
White women who suffer from obesity are less likely to undergo Pap testing for cervical cancer
Concerns about medical malpractice suits may lead to more diagnostic mammograms and biopsy recommendations
Both lack of patient awareness and physician counseling contribute to low rates of colon cancer screening

Research Activities, November 2005:
Some State-level policies are associated with women's mortality rates for certain diseases

Research Activities, October 2005:
Screening and treatment for osteoporosis remains low among patients taking glucocorticoids
Women who smoke have nearly twice the risk of developing Graves' hyperthyroidism than nonsmokers
Study explores women's attitudes and barriers to acceptance of an HIV vaccine

Research Activities, September 2005:
Greater access to care at VA clinics lessens disparities in blood pressure control among black men
Studies reveal variations in preventive care and parental guidance among pediatric and family medicine practices
Adolescents underuse and receive little preventive health counseling during primary care visits

Research Activities, August 2005:
Women with atherosclerosis and high cholesterol receive less intense cholesterol management than men
Age, not height and weight, may be a better marker for assessing risk to children riding in vehicles with air bags
Routine pertussis vaccination of adolescents would be beneficial and reasonably cost effective
It will be difficult to achieve strict cholesterol goals in many patients with diabetes and cardiovascular disease

Research Activities, July 2005:
Poor diets of urban men with paraplegia underscore the importance of screening these patients for chronic diseases
Alcohol-based hand gel use may reduce respiratory illness transmission in homes with young children enrolled in day care
Older people in HMOs and PPOs use more outpatient and preventive services than those in fee-for-service plans

Research Activities, June 2005:
Primary care physician specialty influences use of screening mammography and Pap smears in gatekeeper plans
Existing coronary heart disease is undiagnosed in half of women who have a first heart attack
Despite revised guidelines, most obstetrician/gynecologists continue to overscreen low-risk women for cervical cancer
Veterans Health Administration clinics provide better overall quality of care than many other sites
High managed care penetration boosts breast and cervical cancer screening, with spillover effects to non-managed care patients

Research Activities, May 2005:
Latest data show that use of antibiotics to treat ear infections is declining
Death rates for cardiovascular disease are higher among American Indians and Alaska Natives than other U.S. groups
Home routines in minority families may impede the healthy development and future school success of their children
Use of an asthma kiosk in the emergency department can educate parents and improve clinician/patient communication
Homeless youths have numerous health and access to care problems that vary between street and shelter-based youths

Research Activities, April 2005:
Messages about appropriate antibiotic use must be responsive to ethnic differences and literacy issues
Prehypertension accounts for a substantial number of hospitalizations, nursing home admissions, and premature deaths
Whooping cough can produce symptoms that are severe and prolonged
Sociodemographic factors affect receipt of preventive care services among women aged 65 and older
Osteoporosis often goes undiagnosed and untreated in black patients with fragility fractures
More patients at risk for cardiovascular disease should receive counseling about diet and exercise during outpatient visits
Leisure-time exercise, which helps control diabetes, is low among all diabetes patients, particularly black women
Several popular diets confer similar benefits, with best results from strict adherence

Research Activities, March 2005:
Preventing diabetes complications could save $2.5 billion annually
Pharmacy data can help public health officials identify TB cases and assess their management by private-sector physicians
Primary care providers miss opportunities during office visits for adult preventive care
Limited direct evidence supports the many recommendations for preventive care during well-child care visits

Research Activities, February 2005:
Task Force recommends screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm for male smokers and former smokers ages 65 to 75
Adding a breakfast portion to home-delivered meals can improve the lives of frail, homebound older adults

Research Activities, January 2005:
Medical interns who work extended-duration shifts double their risk of car crashes when driving home from the hospital
Almost 90 percent of American adults wear seat belts regularly, but young men are least likely to wear them
Centers specializing in primary care for women consistently deliver preventive services and have high patient satisfaction

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Research Activities, December 2004:
Physicians who feel confident in delivering preventive services to adolescents are more likely to screen them for risky behaviors
Exercise may not mitigate the weight gain of late middle age, but it can reduce the risk of health decline
Diabetes-specific knowledge is associated with performance of self-management activities but not with outpatient care
Researchers compare receipt of health care from public and private providers serving one North Carolina Indian tribe

Research Activities, November 2004:
Prehypertension is a considerable health risk, particularly in people aged 45 and older
Addressing multiple factors for certain diseases rather than just one may promote healthier lifestyles

Research Activities, October 2004:
AHRQ and its partners launch new tools to help combat childhood obesity
Doctors can use conversational techniques during an illness visit to create an opportunity to deliver preventive care

Research Activities, August 2004:
Studies how that obesity affects mammography accuracy and screening rates
Researchers examine disparities in receipt of preventive care
Hypertension control is greater in U.S. primary care practices than usually reported
Immunization rates in New Mexico have fallen significantly since the introduction of Medicaid managed care

Research Activities, July 2004:
Sibutramine can help manage obesity, but it may not be appropriate for patients with significant cardiovascular disease
Researchers find no evidence that vitamin E supplements have any benefit in preventing or treating cardiovascular disease
Task Force update concludes that current data do not support screening asymptomatic individuals for lung cancer
Screening people with hypertension for diabetes is more cost effective than screening all patients for diabetes
WIC participation improves poor children's access to dental care
For women with HIV and abnormal Pap smears, colposcopy should continue to be the next step to rule out cervical cancer
Studies reveal patient cost-sharing influences patients' use of cancer screening and emergency department care
Medicare managed care is better at delivering preventive services, but traditional Medicare is better in other areas

Research Activities, June 2004:
Researchers describe challenges in translating research findings into clinical practice
Screening sigmoidoscopy may be less effective for detecting colorectal cancer in women and older people
Routine assessment of asthma symptoms can predict the likelihood of related ER visits and hospitalizations
Doctors can use proactive office systems and patient education to persuade more elderly patients to get flu shots
Fewer Medicare patients die in the hospital than in the past, but those who do receive more intensive and expensive treatment
Enhancing Hispanics' access to medications through increased Medicaid eligibility may improve their use of antihypertensives
Patients are more likely to stop smoking if they are advised by their doctors to do so

Research Activities, May 2004:
Less than half of older women who have suffered fractures due to osteoporosis are treated properly to prevent further fractures
Continued staff education and improved processes in physicians' offices can enhance preventive care for children
Practices that allot more time for acute care visits and promote immunization have higher adult vaccination rates

Research Activities, April 2004:
Cervical cancer screening every 3 years after three or more normal Pap tests is a safe option
Health plan use of gatekeepers may improve use of recommended cancer screening
Incidence of hepatitis C virus is low among HIV-infected women and usually is linked to drug use

Research Activities, March 2004:
EXCEED projects focus on prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease
Screening relatively healthy elderly women for breast cancer every 2 years is cost effective
Inconsistent use of medications by elderly Mexican Americans with diabetes may explain their greater risk of some complications
Only about half of stroke survivors living in nursing homes receive medicine to prevent another stroke

Research Activities, February 2004:
Better communication of disease-specific and general health information can improve diabetes self-care
Task Force working group encourages patient-provider partnership in making decisions about preventive care

Research Activities, January 2004:
Cervical cancer rates among younger women decreased over the past 25 years
Women and men with cardiovascular disease may not receive the same level of treatment for high cholesterol
Elderly, low-income black women need more education about the importance of breast cancer screening

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