U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

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Preventive Care

Preventive health care, including counseling, education, and screening, can help prevent or minimize the effects of many serious health conditions. In 2006, females of all ages made 533 million physician office visits. Of these visits, 21.5 percent were for preventive care, including prenatal care, health screening, and insurance examinations (data not shown).1

Biennial breast cancer screenings are recommended for every woman aged 50–74 years and for women aged 40–49 years depending on their individual circumstances.2 The Healthy People 2010 goal is to increase the proportion of women aged 40 years and older who received a mammogram in the previous 2 years to 70 percent.3 In 2008, 76.3 percent of women aged 40 years and older reported receiving a mammogram within the past 2 years, representing a dramatic increase since 1998 when 67 percent of women did so. Women aged 60–69 years were most likely to have received a mammogram in the past 2 years (79.9 percent), followed by women aged 50–59 years (78.6 percent). Nearly 70 percent of women aged 70 years and older had also received a mammogram in the past 2 years. There were no differences in receipt of a mammogram in the past 2 years among women of different races and ethnicities.

High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease. The Healthy People 2010 goal is to increase the percentage of adults aged 20 and over who receive a cholesterol screening at least every 5 years to 80 percent.3 In 2005–2008, 72.5 percent of women aged 20 years and older had received a cholesterol test within the previous 5 years. Non-Hispanic White and non-Hispanic Black women were more likely to have had the test (75.7 and 72.4 percent, respectively), than Mexican American and other Hispanic women (50.3 and 65.5 percent, respectively).

1 Cherry DK, Hing E, Woodwell DA, Rechtsteiner EA. National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 2006 summary. National health statistics reports; no 3. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2008. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/about/major/ahcd/adata.htm, accessed 12/16/09.
2 . U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Recommendations. [online] http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/uspstfix.htm#Recommendations, accessed 12/16/09.
3 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2010. 2nd ed. With Understanding and Improving Health and Objectives for Improving Health. 2 vols. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, November 2000. http://www.healthypeople.gov/Document/tableofcontents.htm#volume1, accessed 12/16/09.

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