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The United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends 41 preventative services for nonpregnant adults, yet only 8% of adults in the United States obtain all of the recommended preventative services (Tasksler, Mercer, Fagerlin & Rothberg, 2019). In order to improve this number, providers need to work on providing individualized preventative services to help patients take advantage of all the preventative services there are to offer. By asking their patients questions each visit it will help them gain information needed to provide individualized preventative services. Questions that should be asked include:

How much alcohol do you drink in a typical day and week?

Do you smoke and if so, how much a day?

In general, how you would say your health is?

How would you describe your eating habits?

Can you give me an example of what you eat in a typical day?

How often do you exercise? And what type of exercise to do you do?

How many different sexual partners have you had in the past year?

When you have sex, do you have sex with men, women, or both?

Do you use any illegal drugs or prescription medication for non-medical reasons?

What do you currently take for medications and over-the-counter medications?

Are you up to date on your vaccinations?

Did you get the flu shot this year?

Do you get dental and eye exams?

Depending on age and sex:

Have you ever had a colonoscopy?

Have you ever had a mammogram?

Have you ever had a prostate exam?

When was your last pap smear?

Whether the patient is a male or female does play a role in the approach that should be taken in delivering preventative services and providing health education because different services are offered depending on the patient’s gender. There are certain services that are offered specifically based on the patient’s gender because they are at risk for different conditions. When it comes to cancer screenings, females should have breast, cervical, and ovarian cancer screenings while males should have prostate cancer screenings. Age also plays a factor because young children and infants are at risk for different diagnoses versus older adults. Decisions on what preventive services that should be offered and what health education to provide should be based on the patients age and gender. As providers, we can use the patients age and gender to help figure out which preventative services would be appropriate for the patient and use recommended guidelines to offer patients the right services.

It is important to know the patient’s developmental level and their milestones so you know how it might impact their ability to make healthy choices and be in control of their health. The developmental tasks of childhood and adolescence call for achieving increased levels of independence and personal decision making especially when it comes to self-care (Markowitz, Garvey & Laffel, 2015). In early childhood when children are aged 0-5, their senses are improving but they have shorter attention spans and they are not cognitively or physically ready to be in charge of their health. Middle childhood/ school aged children ages 6-12 continue to develop fine and gross motor skills and understanding language. At this age they are trying to become more independent and desire more autonomy. Adolescence ages 13-18 is when there is a transition period with the start of puberty and transitioning into adulthood. This is when there is a major developmental shift from parents taking care of the child to them taking care of themselves. Knowing which developmental milestone, the patient is currently at will help the provider know if they have the capability to make their own health decisions.

There are several risk factors that are associated with health promotion. One major issue that can affect health promotion is communication. The provider can give the patient health information, but the patient might not understand the information that is being provided to them especially if it isn’t spoken in a language the patient understands. This can lead to the patient not following the information given by the provider. Patients have various education backgrounds and literary levels which can be a barrier to them understanding essential information, so it is up to the provider to make sure they use simple, clear language and make sure the patient understands what is being taught/ explained (Davis, 2017). Another risk factor associated with health promotion is cost. A patient might need to improve their diet by eating more fruits and vegetables and agree to do so, but do not have the money making it hard for them to eat healthy. Processed foods and junk food might be easier for them to afford and access, so they stick with unhealthy foods instead. Patients might also face social, educational and cultural barriers to health promotion. Peer pressure can influence adolescence and young adults to try drugs or to drink alcohol and misinformation or lack of education can lead to people adopting an unhealthy lifestyle (Henderson, 2017). These are just a few examples of risk factors that can be barriers to health promotion.


Davis, T. (2017). Health literacy: Hidden barriers and practical strategies. Retrieved from…

Henderson, R. (2017). Promoting prevention- and barriers to prevention. Retrieved from…

Markowitz, J. T., Garvey, K. C., & Laffel, L. M. (2015). Developmental changes in the roles of patients and families in type 1 diabetes management. Current Diabetes Reviews, 11(4), 231–238.

Taksler, G. B., Beth Mercer, M., Fagerlin, A., & Rothberg, M. B. (2019). Assessing patient interest in individualized preventive care recommendations. MDM Policy & Practice, 4(1), 1-13.

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