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Counseling during the periodic health examination is also very important, for this is where physicians recommend changes in lifestyle that can affect future morbidity and mortality. One example is the recommendation that folic acid be taken by women of childbearing age (see Table 2). Folic acid supplementation has been shown to decrease the risk of neural tube defects in newborn infants, especially among women who have had a prior pregnancy with a child with a neural tube defect. The current recommendations of the United States Public Health Service, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Canadian Task Force on the Periodic Health Examination is that all women of childbearing age who are capable of becoming pregnant take 0.4 mg of folic acid daily. It is also recommended that women who have had a previous pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect and who are planning to become pregnant again be offered treatment with four mg of folic acid daily, beginning one to three months prior to planned
The periodic health examination is a vital part of health care in the United States. As new information reveals improved methods of detecting and preventing disease and risk factors for disease, and of reducing the morbidity and mortality from illness, clinicians will be able to continue to improve the effectiveness of the periodic health examination.
LEE RACHEL ATKINSON
THOMAS N. ROBINSON
(SEE ALSO: Assessment of Health Status; Blood Pressure; Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care; Child Health Services; Folic Acid; Haemophilus Influenzae Type B Vaccine; Immunizations; Influenza; Personal Health Services; Prevention; Preventive Medicine; Primary Care; United States Preventive Services Task Force [USPSTF])
Canadian Task Force on the Periodic Health Examination (1994). Canadian Guide to Clinical Preventive Health Care. Ottawa: Canada Communication Group.
Committee on Infectious Diseases American Academy of Pediatrics (2000). 2000 Red Book: Report of the Committee of Infectious Diseases, 25th edition. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.
Green, M., ed. (1994). Bright Futures: Guidelines for Health Supervision of Infants, Children and Adolescents. Arlington, VA: National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (1996). Clinician's Handbook of Preventive Services, 2nd edition. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
—— (1996). Guide to Clinical Preventive Services, 2nd edition. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Author Info: LEE RACHEL ATKINSON, THOMAS N. ROBINSON, The Gale Group Inc., Macmillan Reference USA, New York, Gale Encyclopedia of Public Health, 2002This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the care and information received from your healthcare provider. Please consult a healthcare professional with any health concerns you may have.
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