The study -- funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the WellPoint Foundation -- found serious deficiencies in the use of preventive care for the nation and particularly among racial and ethnic minorities.
Researchers said many lives could be saved by increasing to 90 percent the portion of:
-- Adults who take aspirin daily to prevent heart disease.
-- Smokers advised by a health professional to quit and are offered medication or other assistance.
-- Adults 50 and older who are screened for colorectal cancer.
-- Adults 50 and older immunized against influenza.
-- Women 40 and older who are screened for breast cancer.
-- Sexually active young women who are screened for chlamydial infection.
“This report illustrates that the health benefits would be great if more people took preventive actions,” said Dr. Julie Gerberding, CDC director. “More illnesses would be avoided, fewer lives would be lost, and there would be more efficient use of our limited health care resources.”