Millions of Children Don’t Get Recommended Preventive Care

Millions of infants, children, and adolescents in the United States didn’t get key clinical preventive services, according to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Clinical preventive services include medical or dental care that supports healthy development. The CDC report focuses on the following: prenatal breastfeeding counseling, newborn hearing screening and follow-up, developmental screening, lead screening, vision screening, hypertension screening, use of dental care and preventive dental services, human papillomavirus vaccination, tobacco use screening and cessation assistance, chlamydia screening, and reproductive health services. In 2007, 79% of parents with children aged 10 to 47 months said that their healthcare providers hadn’t asked them to complete a formal screen for developmental delays in the past year. In 2009, 56% of children and adolescents didn’t visit the dentist in the past year, and 86% didn’t get a dental sealant or a topical fluoride application. Forty-seven percent of girls 13 to 17 years had not received their recommended first dose of HPV vaccine in 2011. Thirty-one percent outpatient clinic visits from 11- to 21 year-olds during 2004 to 2010 had no documentation of tobacco use status; 80% of those who screened positive for tobacco use didn’t get any cessation assistance. Twenty-four percent of outpatient clinic visits for preventive care for three- to 17-year olds had no documentation of blood pressure  measurement.“The Affordable Care Act requires new health insurance plans to provide certain clinical preventive services at no additional cost with no copays or deductibles. Parents need to know that many clinical preventive services for their children, such as screening and vaccination, are available for free with many health plans,” said Lorraine Yeung, M.D., M.P.H., a medical epidemiologist with the CDC. For more information, visit

Last Updated 01/19/2022

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