HomeWashington Letter2014 ▶ USPSTF Releases Report on Evidence Gaps in Preventive Services for Children
USPSTF Releases Report on Evidence Gaps in Preventive Services for Children

November 2014

This week, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released its fourth annual report to Congress on high-priority evidence gaps for clinical preventive services, focusing on children and adolescents. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the USPSTF is mandated to make an annual report to Congress that identifes gaps in the evidence base and recommend research priority areas. The Task Force's preventive service recommendations form the basis for preventive services covered under the ACA's essential health benefits package.

The report identifies mental health and substance abuse conditions including major depressive disorder, tobacco use, alcohol use and illicit drug use among its priority preventive service areas. Pointing out that most tobacco use begins during youth and young adulthood, the USPSTF recommends more research in the following four areas in children and adolescents:

  • Research that replicates promising interventions, looks at the effectiveness and feasibility of specific components of interventions in primary care practice, and includes longer-term outcomes are needed.
  • Research on interventions to prevent use of other tobacco products, especially e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and dissolvable tobacco.
  • Research on how interventions can be more effective among more diverse groups of children and adolescents, both in terms of demographic characteristics and the various stages of initiation or readiness to quit.
  • Research on the effectiveness of clinician referrals to tailored, computer-based or electronic media channels that deliver messages about not starting or quitting smoking.

The report's six additional preventive service research priority areas include:

  • Obesity and cardiovascular health
  • Behavior and development, including speech delay
  • Infectious diseases, including dental caries and sexually transmitted diseases
  • Skin and cervical cancer prevention
  • Injury and child maltreatment
  • Vision disorders

The USPSTF report on High Priority Evidence Gaps for Clinical Preventive Services is available at: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Name/reports-to-congress.

Last Reviewed: October 2017