Prevention: A Blueprint for Action. Action Steps for Health Care Providers and Professionals


Health care providers/professionals are key for promoting healthy lifestyles and reducing the impact of chronic diseases and conditions.  In any year, most Americans will interact with the health care system.  Thus, health care providers are strategically poised to intervene and influence individuals to adopt healthy behaviors.  Health care professionals can also provide critical leadership to communities, state and local governments, schools and other interested stakeholders to guide and catalyze health promotion and disease prevention efforts.

  • Lead by example; live a healthy lifestyle.
  • Accrue and maintain state-of-the-art knowledge about best practices and behavioral interventions to promote healthy habits and reduce risky behaviors.
  • Inform and educate individuals (patients, parents, students, community leaders, other health professionals, etc.) about the importance of healthy eating, regular physical activity, recommended disease screening, and avoidance of risky behaviors (such as tobacco use) to promote health and prevent chronic disease.
  • Implement effective weight reducing initiatives and smoking cessation programs.
  • Direct or participate in studies to explore the effectiveness of approaches to weight loss and healthy weight maintenance and smoking cessation.
  • Explore partnerships between health care providers/professionals and schools, communities, faith-based organizations, local and state governments, and other interested parties to develop and implement health promotion and disease prevention initiatives.
  •  Seek out training in health literacy and effective provider-patient communication.
  •   Practice evidence-based prevention—adhere to evidence-based recommendations of the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) on whether a clinical preventive service should be routinely delivered
  • Identify individuals who are ready to make important changes and take maximum advantage of the “teachable moment” that often occurs in clinical care (e.g., counseling individuals who have just had a heart attack or chest pain to quit smoking).
  • Harness the power of health information technology systems, including decision support systems, to remind clinicians and patients when preventive services are needed.  HHS has supported much of the research that demonstrates the effectiveness of these systems to improve the use of clinical preventive services.

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