A new report says more than 100,000 American lives would be saved each year if people increased the use of five preventive services.
The report by the Partnership for Prevention found increasing low-dose aspirin use by 90% of the adult population would save 45,000 lives annually by preventing heart disease.
The report also found that 42,000 lives could be saved if 90% of smokers were advised by doctors to quit and were offered prescription drugs and other services to help.
14,000 lives would be saved if 90% of adults older than age 50 were screened for colorectal cancer.
12,000 lives would be saved if 90% of people older than age 50 received annual influenza vaccinations.
Another 4,000 lives could be saved if all women older than age 40 received regular breast cancer screenings.
According to the report as the current situation stands, only 28% of smokers are provided with the recommended services, and 37% of U.S. adults receive annual flu shots while 67% of women have been screened for breast cancer in the past two years.
The report also says there are racial disparities in the use of preventive care with Hispanic smokers 55% less likely than white smokers to receive help to quit smoking, and Asian-Americans were less likely than all other racial groups to take aspirin and get screened for colorectal and breast cancer.
The study was funded by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the WellPoint Foundation.
Dr. Eduardo Sanchez, Chair of the National Commission on Prevention Priorities, a panel convened by Partnership for Prevention to guide the study, says many Americans are not getting live-saving preventive services, and as a result, too many people are dying prematurely or living with diseases that could have been prevented.
Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says more illnesses would be avoided, fewer lives would be lost, and there would be more efficient use of limited health care resources, if more people took preventive actions.
Partnership for Prevention is a nonprofit organization of medical and health professionals, academic institutions, voluntary health associations, businesses, government agencies and other groups dedicated to advancing policies and practices to prevent disease and improve the health of all Americans.
For more information about Partnership for Prevention, visit http://www.prevent.org.