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Q: How often should you get a physical if you're in general good health?

It used to be a common practice for people to get a checkup every year, even if they were healthy. But in the past few years, researchers have found that most people don't get much benefit from an annual physical exam, and groups like the American Medical Association have moved away from recommending it.

That doesn't mean that you can skip the checkups altogether. In general, healthy people should get a physical every two to three years in their 20s, every other year in their 30s and 40s, and annually starting around age 50. You should also get regular health screenings like skin checks, pap smears, mammograms, and colorectal cancer screening. Talk to your doctor about what screenings are recommended for your age, gender, and health history.

Linda M. Teter, MD

Family practice

Kihei Wailea Medical Center
221 Pi'ikea Ave., Suite A
Kihei, HI 96753