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Preventive Care

Narrative

Preventive health care, including counseling, education, and screening, can help prevent or minimize the effects of many serious health conditions. In 2010, 72.3 percent of women reported that they had received a routine checkup or general physical exam that was not for a specific injury, illness, or condition, compared to 63.4 percent of men. For both men and women, the receipt of preventive health care increased with age and exceeded 85 percent among those aged 65 years and older. Among those aged 18–44 years, however, women were much more likely than men to have had a preventive checkup (66.1 versus 53.4 percent, respectively).

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends specific screening tests, counseling, immunizations, and preventive medications for a variety of diseases and conditions including several types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, injury, infectious diseases, mental health, and substance abuse.1 For example, biennial breast cancer screenings (mammograms) are recommended for every woman aged 50–74 years and cervical cancer screenings (Pap smears) are recommended every 3 years for women aged 21–65 years. In 2010, 79.8 percent of women aged 50–74 years reported receiving a mammogram within the past 2 years and 84.5 percent of women aged 21–65 reported receiving a Pap smear within the past 3 years. Non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native and non-Hispanic women of multiple races were less likely than women of other races and ethnicities to have met the mammogram guidelines (65.5 and 72.7 percent, respectively). Non-Hispanic Asian, non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native, and women of multiple races were least likely to have met the Pap smear guidelines (74.6, 77.8, and 78.1 percent, respectively). Under the Affordable Care Act, women's preventive health care, such as breast and cervical cancer screening, prenatal care, and other services, is covered with no cost-sharing for new health plans.2

1 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Recommendations. Accessed 10/25/12.

2 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Affordable Care Act Rules on Expanding Access to Preventive Services for Women. Accessed 10/25/12.

Graphs

Data

Past Year Preventive Check-up Among Adults Aged 18 and Older,* By Age and Sex, 2010
Age Group Percent of Adults
Female Male
*Report of a routine checkup in the past year, defined as a general physical exam that was not for a specific injury, illness, or condition; total estimates are age-adjusted. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2010. Analysis conducted by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
Total 72.3 63.4
18-44 Years 66.1 53.4
45-64 Years 74.8 68.3
65 Years and Older 87.1 86.0
Receipt of Recommended Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Among Women,* by Race/Ethnicity, 2010
Race/Ethnicity Percent of Women
Mammogram Pap Smear
*Based on U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations of biennial mammography for women aged 50-74 years and a Pap smear every three years for women aged 21-65 years; all estimates are age-adjusted. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2010. Analysis conducted by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
Total 79.8 84.5
Non-Hispanic White 79.8 85.3
Non-Hispanic Black 82.7 86.4
Hispanic 79.6 84.6
Non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native 65.5 77.8
Non-Hispanic Asian 79.3 74.6
Non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander 85.4 80.3
Non-Hispanic Multiple Races 72.7 78.1