Printer Friendly

U.S. preventive care lagging, especially among minorities.

Too few Americans are being screened to prevent colorectal cancer, obesity and other health conditions, according to a series of annual federal reports issued in January.

The 2006 National Healthcare Quality Report and the National Healthcare Disparities Report, both released by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, found that preventive care lags "significantly" behind other gains in health care.

For example, only about 52 percent of adults reported receiving recommended colorectal screenings, a concern because about 56,000 Americans die from colorectal cancer each year and 150,000 new cases are diagnosed annually. The reports also found that fewer than half of obese adults reported being counseled on diet by a health care professional, and only 49 percent of people with asthma were told how to change their environment to lessen the frequency of attacks.

Among adults with diabetes, only 48 percent received all three recommended screenings--a blood sugar test, foot exam and eye exam--to prevent complications. AHRQ officials estimated about $2.5 billion could be saved yearly by eliminating hospitalizations linked to diabetes complications.

The federal disparities report found access to care varied widely between racial and ethnic groups as well as by income. Blacks received poorer quality of care for 73 percent of the report's core measures, which included vaccinations, preventive screenings, hospital treatment of heart attack or pneumonia and services for diabetes. Hispanics received poorer quality of care than non-Hispanic whites for 77 percent of the measures, and low-income people received just 71 percent of the measures.

Disparities were particularly pronounced when it came to prevention, according to the report. Obese blacks were less likely to be told they were overweight by their doctor or other provider. Colorectal cancer screening rates were lower among blacks and Asians than for whites. Among people ages 65 and older, Hispanics and people with low incomes were less likely to have ever received a pneumonia vaccine.

While health disparities are not new, some are getting worse, according to the report. Those include the gap between blacks and whites for access to a regular health provider and a lack of care or delay in receiving care because of financial problems.

The report also noted that there are "significant gaps in data availability" for American Indians and Alaska Natives.

The reports, the 2006 "National Healthcare Quality Report" and "National Healthcare Disparities Report," are available from <www.ahrq.gov>.
COPYRIGHT 2007 The Nation's Health
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

 Reader Opinion

Title:

Comment:



 

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:The NATION: Health news at the national and federal levels
Publication:The Nation's Health
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2007
Words:398
Previous Article:National Public Health Week kicks off in April.
Next Article:Flu shots should be mandatory for health care workers, group says.
Topics:


Related Articles
The racial/ethnic demography of disability.
Concern for an Aging Rainbow.
PREVENTION: WHOSE RESPONSIBILITY IS IT?
U.S. not getting good value for its health care investment.
New vaccine for cervical cancer virus raises access questions: vaccine approved.
Preventive services a good investment for health.
Federal report examines links between poverty, health access.
Major improvements possible if states make health a priority.
Study suggests 'medical homes' key to promoting health equity.
Medicare to improve access to prevention, mental health services: Congress passes bill over president's veto.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2014 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters