What Is a Health Appraisal?

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  • Written By: M.C. Huguelet
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2019
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A health appraisal is an evaluation of an individual’s health performed to gather information about both his current bodily fitness as well as his risk of developing various medical conditions. While a health appraisal can bear many similarities to a physical examination, it tends to place more emphasis on future medical risks than a physical traditionally does. Periodic health appraisals are often mandatory for students, and may also be offered by one’s employer. Some health appraisal providers offer follow-up support services which assist individuals in controlling their risk of developing a certain medical condition in the future.

Often, a health appraisal incorporates many of the same steps as a typical physical examination. For instance, during an appraisal a physician may weigh and measure a patient, check his vital signs, examine his ears, and observe his reflexes. The factor that typically sets an appraisal apart from a physical, however, is that while a physical tends to focus on a patient’s current health, an appraisal seeks to determine the patient’s risk of developing medical conditions in the future. This risk is usually determined by analyzing a patient’s physical exam results in combination with a detailed questionnaire concerning his personal and family medical history, his behaviors, and his willingness to take an active role in maintaining his health.


In many schools, students are required to receive a periodic health appraisal. Gathering information about a student’s health can contribute to that student’s educational success by reducing the absenteeism and poor performance which can be caused by emerging medical conditions. Some health care providers also offer health appraisals to insured individuals. In this case, an appraisal benefits the individual by allowing him to take steps to limit his health risks. When the individual addresses his health issues before they develop into significant problems, the insurance provider in turn avoids the costly claims which can accompany chronic illnesses.

Some health appraisal providers offer follow-up support services which grant assistance to individuals who wish to manage their health risks. For instance, if a tobacco user’s appraisal reveals that he has a high risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), he may decide to reduce this risk by quitting smoking. An appraisal provider that offers follow-up support may help the individual realize his goal of quitting by supplying smoking cessation aids such as nicotine patches and providing the emotional support needed to navigate cravings and withdrawal symptoms.


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Post 7

@B707 - I don't think schools are encroaching on privacy issues when children are given a health appraisal that asks about the family's medical history and behaviors. These tests are still given by registered nurses and doctors, and they are still responsible for confidentiality.

There are many medical conditions though that can be cause for alarm, and I believe schools have the right to know. Whether it is so that they can remove the student from the school, or make sure that there are proper responses in place should anything happen with that student.

I think it is no different than mandatory vaccinations. If you want your children in public school they should be healthy and checked out before being allowed near other kids.

Post 6

If you ever need to enter another country on an extended visa, or work abroad, you will usually need a health appraisal to show that country's immigration department.

I have spent a lot of time working abroad, and every year I have to pay for my own mandatory health appraisal. It generally covers blood work, x-rays, a blood pressure check and things like drug testing.

Many countries are wary about having immigrants come in and work or travel for a long time, so they like to make sure you are healthy.

I think that it is a good idea to have a health appraisal done, as it is also a good way to identify if you have gotten anything in that country.

Post 5

@Misscoco - I agree. Health appraisals could and should be used in a positive manner by health care providers. It could be the first step in preventative care, especially if follow up support is provided.

I think that our country needs to invest more effort in encouraging doctors and health care providers to help patients prevent chronic illnesses before they occur. If more preventative care took place, then the health care system could save money by not having to treat health complications later down the road.

However, I wonder if some health care providers use health appraisals to deny a patient coverage if they show signs of health problems potentially forming.

Post 4

In the case of health care providers offering an insured person the opportunity to have a health appraisal could work out well. I guess in some situations after the appraisal, the health care provider would decide what the patient needs to do to reduce his health risks. If the patient followed through, it would be a win-win situation.

An even better way would be if the health care provider took steps to actually help the patient reduce the risk of chronic diseases. For example, organizing support groups for those with similar risks. This action could help to reduce the price of health care.

Post 3

I'm really surprised that health appraisals are given to children through the schools. When part of the appraisal is a questionnaire asking questions about family medical history and behaviors, it seems to be encroaching on privacy issues.

It doesn't seem right to predict the risks for certain conditions for the future. Certainly children should be watched and treated, but to put them on a pre-determined path isn't in their best interests. I don't know if health appraisals are mandatory for all children, or just for those who show signs of physical or emotional problems.

Post 2

@MalakAslan - You have a very good point there. I am thinking that our oldest son’s life might have been very different if someone other than his doctor and our family made the decisions. It also concerns me that with a health appraisal they are trying to predict a child’s health which might pigeon-hole the child.

When our oldest son was a toddler he was diagnosed with aortic stenosis. When he was first diagnosed we were told that sports would not be an option and that his growth would probably be stunted.

I am thinking that his life could have turned out very differently if someone else told us how he had to live his life according to the

health appraisal predictions.

Growing up we did keep an eye on him, but he was able to participate in sports and he grew to be over six feet tall. He is now in his late thirties and has a very physically demanding job in law enforcement.

Post 1

While on the surface a health appraisal required by a school seems to be there to help the student and the family it concerns me that the school would get involved at all. Normally the child’s health is the concern of the family and the family’s health adviser.

It bothers me that now there could also be a government entity involved in the health care decisions for a child. In medicine one plus one does not always equal two. There are often differing opinions on treatment. If the school and the family don’t agree on the treatment or approach who prevails?

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