Around 44 million adults in America had a routine medical check-up between 2002 and 2004, and a range of unnecessary tests - costing $350m a year - were ordered. These included tests on blood count, serum electrolytes, and urine, plus a check on heart health.
But, says Dr Ateev Mehrotra from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre, these tests shouldn't be carried out routinely. Instead, they should be ordered only if the doctor has a good reason to do so.
General preventative advice is often given either during other surgery visits or from other sources.
The only regular check-ups worth preserving are mammogram and cervical smear tests, he says.
(Source: Archives of Internal Medicine, 2007; 167: 1876-83).