Several significant developments during the past 18 months will enhance the ability of all physicians to offer preventive medical services in their practices.
In early 1989, the work of the US Preventive Services Task Force was presented to the Department of Health and Human Services and then published as the Guide to Clinical Preventive Services.1 For 4 years, a team of 20 experts from medicine and related fields evaluated 169 interventions to prevent 60 different illnesses and conditions. The task force used rigorous scientific criteria in reviewing the evidence (included in the guide) for and against each process. The resulting recommendations include screening for early detection, immunization, and chemoprophylaxis, as appropriate, for vascular diseases, cancer, metabolic disorders, infectious diseases, hematologic and ophthalmologic disorders, prenatal conditions, mental disorders, and substance abuse. In addition, the effectiveness of counseling to prevent tobacco use, improve exercise and nutrition practices, prevent injuries and dental