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Preventing Avoidable Illnesses in Hispanics Objective of New Nationwide Education Effort

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Latest Recommendations Now Available in Spanish

Press Release Date: February 25, 1999

The Federal government's Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) announced today that it is disseminating nationwide two pocket-sized guides containing the latest recommendations and other information in Spanish for the prevention or early detection of illnesses such as breast cancer, heart disease and lead poisoning. The guides help users maintain a record of examinations of family members and they provide information on topics ranging from dietary guidelines and child development to safety guidelines and the warning signs of depression.

"These guides give Spanish-speakers access to the best evidence-based information available on ways to prevent avoidable health problems," said AHCPR's administrator, John M. Eisenberg, M.D. "Use of these guides may spell the difference between a healthier and longer life, and one of illness and suffering. We recommend that the nation's doctors, nurses, clinics, hospitals, insurers, employers and all others interested in preventing avoidable illnesses make these guides available to their Spanish-speaking patients, clients or employees."

AHCPR—a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—works to improve the quality and effectiveness of health care, as well as enhance access to health care for all people living in the United States, through research and education. AHCPR also looks for ways to make health care more cost-effective and to reduce needless costs.

The vast majority of premature deaths and disability in the United States result from preventable causes. There is ample evidence that clinical preventive services can prevent these from occurring. But research also shows that physicians do not always provide their patients with all the necessary or recommended clinical preventive services. Another problem is that many times patients insist on having exams and other services that are ineffective or whose benefits have not been proven.

By the year 2010—only 11 years from now—more than one of every 10 persons (13 percent) in the United States will be of Hispanic origin. The health of the Hispanic population is improving but deficiencies remain.

For example, although the percentage of Hispanic women who use prenatal health services increased from 61 percent in 1987 to 70 percent in 1995, the goal for the year 2000 is 90 percent. Moreover, only about 38 percent of Hispanics aged 65 and older have been immunized against potentially deadly pneumonia and influenza, yet the year 2000 goal for this group is 60 percent.

The pocket guides are part of a National campaign, "Put Prevention into Practice," whose objective is to increase and improve the provision of clinical preventive services and to educate the public about the importance of prevention. The campaign is an outgrowth of the U.S. Preventive Health Services Task Force—a Federally appointed panel of experts who examine the scientific evidence behind preventive health care and based on their findings, develop recommendations.

Guía de salud infantíl (Child Health Guide) contains recommendations and other information from medical societies and public health authorities about exams and tests—what they are and when they are needed—information about development, nutrition, physical activity and other topics key to health in children. Guía de salud personal (Personal Health Guide) has information about blood pressure, cholesterol, immunizations, tests for detecting cancers, dental care, nutrition, AIDS, physical activity and other areas.

To order Guía de salud infantíl (APPIP 99-0013), or Guía de salud personal (APPIP 99-0012), or the English-language versions, Child Health Booklet (APPIP 98-0026) and Personal Health Booklet (APPIP 98-0027), call 1-800-358-9295 or write: AHCPR Publications Clearinghouse, P.O. Box 8547, Silver Spring, MD 20907 (Spanish-speaking staff are available).

Physicians, clinics, hospitals, other health providers, employers and social-support agencies may order up to 200 copies of each guide—which are also available in English—without charge. Organizations that need larger quantities may purchase them from the AHCPR Publications Clearinghouse (25 copies for $15) or borrow the negatives and reprint the booklets. Organizations that want to borrow the negatives should call Brigette Scott at Global Exchange, Inc. (301-272-2458).

Another source for the guides, as well as for other information on "Put Prevention into Practice," is online: Select to access online versions of Guía de salud infantíl or Guía de salud personal, or the English-language versions, Child Health Booklet and Personal Health Booklet. AHCPR's Web site also contains other consumer publications, in Spanish as well as in English, plus research findings, statistics, and information about AHCPR programs and activities (in English only).

For additional information, contact AHCPR Public Affairs: Karen Migdail, (301) 427-1855 (

The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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