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Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Clinical Practice

Andrew M. Davis, MD, MPH
JAMA. 1997;277(3):263-264. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540270089034.
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These are strange times for clinical prevention in the United States. The media is filled with health news, and stores have aisles of low-fat food, but Americans are becoming more sedentary and obese. Managed care organizations now boast about their prevention performance on increasingly sophisticated report cards but value practitioners who see four or five patients an hour. Health care purchasers demand these report cards but readily switch their employees into a different health plan to save a few premium dollars. And in the near future, a raft of biotechnology firms will market genetic tests that tell patients about diseases they haven't even developed... yet.

Physicians have their own conflicts about prevention in the late 20th century. We've been trained at great length and expense to intervene, and we feel that we are distinguished from other health practitioners by our ability to deliver a scientific diagnosis and cure. We know


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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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