An ounce of prevention

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Aug. 27, 2007

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If the proportion of adults who take aspirin daily to prevent heart disease were increased to 90%, an estimated 45,000 additional lives would be saved each year. Today, less than 50% take an aspirin daily.

This projection is part of a Partnership for Prevention study released earlier this month that found deficiencies in preventive care for the U.S. as a whole, and especially among racial and ethnic minorities. Overall, the report concluded that increasing use of five preventive services could save up to 100,000 lives annually.

The study, which was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and WellPoint Foundation, found that if the number of smokers advised by a health professional to kick the habit and given medication or other assistance were increased to 90%, 42,000 additional lives could be saved. Currently, only about 28% of smokers receive such services. Similarly, if the portion of adults older than 50 who get an annual flu shot were increased from the current 37% to 90%, 12,000 additional lives could be spared. The report offered similar projections regarding cancer screening and other illnesses.

Meanwhile, the findings also noted that African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans and Asian-Americans use preventive services at rates lower than the U.S. white, non-Hispanic population. Additional findings are available online (link).

Note: This item originally appeared at

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