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How does prevention relate to
health and wellness?

Introducing Prevention

We hear about prevention often. But what exactly does it mean? Prevention is a very general word that can be applied to many different situations.  It can refer to countless activities that you can do to help avoid any type of problem.  This article focuses on how prevention relates to your health and wellness. 

The topics will focus on how you, your health care provider, and your family can help you prevent and manage disease.  We will also learn about preventive services suited for your age that target the prevention of many conditions and diseases.  You may be surprised that your insurance may pay a large portion of the cost of many of these services.

Three Pieces of Prevention

Three Pieces of PreventionTake a look at the handout called the “Three Pieces of Prevention: The Perfect Preventive Puzzle.”  You, your health care provider, and your family and friends can all work together to contribute to your present and future wellness.

Think about what YOU can do everyday to boost your prevention prowess.  Some of the most important behaviors to prevent health problems are to be active, choose healthy foods, maintain a healthy weight, be smoke-free, and use the preventive services that we will talk about later in this lesson. 

Your health care provider is a key component in this equation.  Only your health care provider can ensure that you have the proper services (vaccinations, screenings, or counseling) appropriate for you.  However, only YOU can ensure your health care provider is knowledgeable about your health and your family history of certain conditions.  Remember to always be open and honest in discussing your health with your health care provider.
Family and friends are part of prevention, too.  Yes, that’s right!  Your friends and family can provide support for a healthy lifestyle.  Making changes to your daily routine can be difficult, but people who make those changes with a friend, family member, or spouse are often more successful at keeping healthy lifestyle changes than those who go at it alone.  Walking for thirty minutes or eating an extra serving of vegetables will seem easier if you have a buddy who cares and provides support.

Preventive Services

Specific preventive services may be recommended for you to meet your Prevention Serviceshealthcare needs.  Review the handouts titled “Recommended Preventive Services”; one is for women and one is for men.  Some services are recommended because they detect certain conditions while they are still manageable.  In other words, the service allows you to catch a potential problem before it becomes a disease – this will likely save you a lot of discomfort and frustration if it is caught before you really get sick.  Select the handout specifically for your gender.  As you go through the handout, try to recall if you have had the service.  If you haven’t had a service, ask your health care provider if it would benefit you.

It would be a good idea to bring this handout with you to your next appointment with your health care provider to make sure you have not missed any opportunities for prevention.  The screenings help prevent common diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, colon cancer, and osteoporosis. 

Many of the services we discussed are covered by insurance.  Use the handout, “Preventive Services Covered by Medicare” as a reference to see for the preventive benefits you should be receiving if you are enrolled in Medicare.  If you need help enrolling in Medicare or understanding benefits, call the GeorgiaCares 800-number provided at the top of the page. Outside of Georgia, you may find national Medicare contact information at: http://www.medicare.gov/ContactUs.asp or call the national information hotline at: 1-800-MEDICARE.

In general, most adults have their weight and blood pressure checked regularly, but some recommended tests don’t get used very much – even services that are covered by Medicare and other insurance.  Make sure you don’t let an opportunity for prevention pass you by!  Many people over age 65 don’t get checked for:

  • Colon cancer screenings: About 38% of people have not been screened as recommended.
  • Breast cancer screenings: About 24% of women have not had a mammogram in the past two years.
  • Cholesterol screening: About 17% of people haven’t had their cholesterol screened in the past four years.
  • Prostate cancer: About 30% of men haven’t had the recommended screening.
  • Flu shot: About 30% of people haven’t been vaccinated for the flu in the past year.



Department of Foods and Nutrition, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602. Division of Aging Services, Georgia Department of Human Resources, Atlanta, GA 30303. December 2007


Site last updated: April 20, 2011

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