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West J Med. 1988 Oct;149(4):468-74.

Opportunities for health promotion and disease prevention in the clinical setting.


Advances in medicine offer unprecedented opportunities to improve health. New diagnostic, care, and treatment approaches are having a tremendous impact; yet, the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States are intimately linked to preventable factors such as smoking, improper nutrition, alcohol misuse, lack of exercise, and maladaptive behaviors. Compelling evidence indicates that reducing risk factors yields substantial overall health benefits and saves lives. Prevention efforts can be applied effectively at many points in a disease process, and clinical medicine has a significant role. Nonetheless, a number of barriers may interfere. These include physician education and attitudes; patient education, expectations, and motivations; and aspects of the health care delivery system itself, such as access and reimbursement. The situation has been complicated by the apparent lack of consensus on the appropriate frequency and scope of such activities.

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