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Annual health checks do not reduce mortality, says Cochrane review

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e7001 (Published 16 October 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7001
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

General health checks do not reduce morbidity or mortality and should not be included as part of a public health programme, say Cochrane researchers who carried out a systematic review of the evidence.

The review, published in the Cochrane Library, included 14 trials involving 182 880 people.1 Nine of the trials studied the risk of death and included 155 899 participants. Health checks had no effect on the risk of death or on the specific risk of death from cardiovascular disease or cancer.

Neither did the researchers find an effect on the risk of illness, although one trial found an increased number of people that health checks identified as having hypertension and high cholesterol concentrations, and …

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