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Systematic review and meta-analysis
General health checks may not reduce morbidity or mortality but do increase the number of new diagnoses
  1. Azeem Majeed1,
  2. Ricky Banarsee2
  1. 1 Department of Primary Care and Public Health, Imperial College London, London, UK
  2. 2 Department of Public Health, NHS Brent, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to : Professor Azeem Majeed
    Department of Primary Care and Public Health, Imperial College London, Reynolds Building, London W6 8RP, UK; a.majeed{at}

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Implications for practice and research

  • General health checks aim to detect risk factors and diseases in healthy people, with the aim of either preventing a disease from developing, or treating a disease earlier in its course.

  • A systematic review of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of general health checks found that they did not reduce morbidity or mortality, but did increase the number of new diagnoses.


The burden of non-communicable disease such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and kidney disease is increasing worldwide.1 These diseases all share risk factors that include smoking, hypertension, obesity, physical inactivity and hyperglycaemia. Their prevention, early identification and effective management could have major public health and economic benefits, and this has led to renewed interest …

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  • Competing interests AM has received funding from the Department of Health's Policy Research Programme to carry out a national evaluation of the NHS Health Check Programme.