Specific Populations

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is committed to improving the health of people nationwide. The USPSTF makes evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services for the general population. However, it recognizes that a disease or condition, or a clinical preventive service, may affect specific populations differently than the general population. For example, there can be variation by:

  • Demographic characteristics, such as age, sex, and race/ethnicity
  • Other factors, such as biology, behavior, or genetics

Therefore, when the USPSTF makes its recommendations, it considers how they can be applied to specific segments of the U.S. population, as well as the general public. The USPSTF does this in several ways, including:

  1. Developing research plans and conducting evidence reviews. In the research plan, the USPSTF specifies for which populations it will examine the evidence, including specific populations that may be disproportionally affected by the disease/condition or preventive service.
  2. Developing recommendations for specific populations. When the available evidence indicates that the benefits and harms are different for specific populations, the USPSTF will make a separate recommendation.
  3. Communicating recommendations for specific populations. When there is not enough evidence to make a separate recommendation for a specific population, the USPSTF will describe differences in the evidence in its recommendation statement, including in the “Clinical Considerations” and “Research Needs and Gaps” sections.

Additional information is available at:

  • Article on developing recommendations for evidence-based clinical preventive services for specific populations
  • Articles and resources on USPSTF methods for specific populations
  • USPSTF recommendations for specific age groups (e.g., pediatric, adolescent, adult, and senior) and by sex


Current as of: May 2021
Internet Citation: Specific Populations. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. June 2018.