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New checklists help men and women know which medical tests are needed to stay healthy at any age

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has released two new evidence-based checklists designed to help men and women understand which medical tests they need to stay healthy at any age. The men's and women's versions of Your Checklist for Health show at a glance what the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends regarding screening tests, preventive medicine, and other healthy lifestyle behaviors.

Your Checklist for Health, available in English and Spanish, is a pocket-size brochure designed to be taken with patients when they visit their health care providers to make it easier to talk about which screening tests they might need. Unlike diagnostic tests, which clinicians order when they suspect someone has a disease, screening tests help check for problems before they have symptoms. Both checklists provide tips about other things to do to stay healthy, such as eating a healthy diet and exercising. A chart to record a patientŐs screening test history and help plan followup medical appointments also is included.

The checklist for men includes recommendations about cholesterol checks, tests for high blood pressure, colorectal cancer screening, and recent Task Force recommendations on screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm, HIV, and obesity. The checklist for women includes recommendations about screening for high cholesterol; breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers; and osteoporosis. It also includes recent Task Force recommendations on obesity screening and screening for HIV for all pregnant women.

Men: Stay Healthy at Any Age, Your Checklist for Health (AHRQ Publication No. 07-IP006-A) and Women: Stay Healthy at Any Age, Your Checklist for Health (AHRQ Publication No. 07-IP005-A) are available on the AHRQ Web site at http://www.ahrq.gov/ppip/healthymen.htm and http://www.ahrq.gov/ppip/healthywom.htm. Printed copies are also available through the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.

Editor's Note: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is an independent panel of experts in prevention and primary care. The Task Force conducts rigorous, impartial assessments of the scientific evidence for the effectiveness of a broad range of clinical preventive services, including screening, counseling, and preventive medications. Its recommendations are considered the gold standard for clinical preventive services. AHRQ provides technical and administrative support, but the recommendations of the panel are its own.

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