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The concept of prevention: a good idea gone astray?

The concept of prevention: a good idea gone astray? Over time, the definition of prevention has expanded so that its meaning in the context of health services is now unclear. As risk factors are increasingly considered to be the equivalent of “diseases” for purposes of intervention, the concept of prevention has lost all practical meaning. This paper reviews the inconsistencies in its utility, and suggests principles that it should follow in the future: a population orientation with explicit consideration of attributable risk, the setting of priorities based on reduction in illness and avoidance of adverse effects, and the imperative to reduce inequities in health. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health British Medical Journal

The concept of prevention: a good idea gone astray?

The concept of prevention: a good idea gone astray?

Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health , Volume 62 (7) – Jul 16, 2008

Abstract

Over time, the definition of prevention has expanded so that its meaning in the context of health services is now unclear. As risk factors are increasingly considered to be the equivalent of “diseases” for purposes of intervention, the concept of prevention has lost all practical meaning. This paper reviews the inconsistencies in its utility, and suggests principles that it should follow in the future: a population orientation with explicit consideration of attributable risk, the setting of priorities based on reduction in illness and avoidance of adverse effects, and the imperative to reduce inequities in health.

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References (65)

Publisher
British Medical Journal
Copyright
2008 the BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN
0143-005X
eISSN
1470-2738
DOI
10.1136/jech.2007.071027
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Over time, the definition of prevention has expanded so that its meaning in the context of health services is now unclear. As risk factors are increasingly considered to be the equivalent of “diseases” for purposes of intervention, the concept of prevention has lost all practical meaning. This paper reviews the inconsistencies in its utility, and suggests principles that it should follow in the future: a population orientation with explicit consideration of attributable risk, the setting of priorities based on reduction in illness and avoidance of adverse effects, and the imperative to reduce inequities in health.

Journal

Journal of Epidemiology & Community HealthBritish Medical Journal

Published: Jul 16, 2008

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