Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Are Yearly Physicals for Healthy Adults Necessary?

Magazine article Nutrition Health Review

Are Yearly Physicals for Healthy Adults Necessary?

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Despite the advice of national expert panels since the late 1970's, patients still ask for and physicians still perform unnecessary annual physical examinations each year. Annual general health check-ups, preventive health examinations, and periodic health evaluations have proved to--be less than beneficial to patients without symptoms.

The Cochrane Collaboration headed a study that looked at the outcomes from 14 randomized controlled trials involving 182,880 participants. The investigators studied groups receiving yearly check-ups and compared them with groups that did not receive them. Although the group receiving yearly check-ups received more diagnoses of various ailments, the examinations did nothing to reduce mortality rates, cardiovascular disease, or cancer-related conditions. The researchers concluded that such examinations were probably not beneficial and had no effect on general health, patient worry, absence from work, disability, or additional hospital visits.

The Cochrane team defined a general health check-up as any contact between a health care professional and an individual that was not provoked by symptoms; the visit is dedicated solely to counseling and screening tests. …

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