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Health promotion and public health
Health checks have a limited effect on reducing morbidity and mortality in asymptomatic populations
  1. Kate Frazer
  1. School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kate Frazer, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems, University College Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland; kathleen.frazer{at}

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Commentary on: Krogsbøll LT, Jørgensen KJ, Gøtzsche PC. General health checks in adults for reducing morbidity and mortality from disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2019;1:CD009009. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD009009.pub3.

Implications for practice and research

  • Current evidence does not support continuing trials of health checks in general population and could lead to unnecessary tests and treatments.

  • Future research should examine effects of structural public health interventions including effects of higher tax on cigarettes and alcohol on reducing disease.


General health check programmes screen asymptomatic groups with the aim of detecting disease or risk factors at an earlier stage to prevent future illness and improve health outcomes.1 2 General health screening, while providing benefits, is associated with disadvantages including false reassurance or over treatment.3 Criteria for establishing screening and evaluation of programmes are essential.3


This was an update of a previous systematic review of randomised …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.