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CDC: Millions of Children Not Getting Recommended Preventive Care

Posted on September 10, 2014

Millions of infants, children and adolescents in the United States did not receive key clinical preventive services, according to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in today’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Supplement.

Clinical preventive services are various forms of important medical or dental care that support healthy development. They are delivered by doctors, dentists, nurses and allied health providers in clinical settings. These services prevent and detect conditions and diseases in their earlier, more treatable stages, significantly reducing the risk of illness, disability, early death, and expensive medical care.

The CDC report focuses on 11 clinical preventive services: prenatal breastfeeding counseling, newborn hearing  screening and follow-up, developmental screening, lead screening, vision screening, hypertension screening, use of dental care and preventive dental services, human papillomavirus vaccination, tobacco use screening and cessation assistance, chlamydia screening and reproductive health services.

The findings offer a baseline assessment of the use of selected services prior to 2012, before or shortly after implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Sample findings include:

·         In 2007, parents of almost eight in 10 (79 percent) children aged 10-47 months reported that they were not asked by healthcare providers to complete a formal screen for developmental delays in the past year.

·         In 2009, more than half (56 percent) of children and adolescents did not visit the dentist in the past year and nearly nine of 10 (86 percent) children and adolescents did not receive a dental sealant or a topical fluoride application in the past year.

·         Nearly half (47 percent) of females aged 13-17 years had not received their recommended first dose of HPV vaccine in 2011.

·         Approximately one in three (31 percent) outpatient clinic visits made by 11-21 year-olds during 2004–2010 had no documentation of tobacco use status; eight of 10 (80 percent) of those who screened positive for tobacco use did not receive any cessation assistance.