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Research Article

Combined Impact of Health Behaviours and Mortality in Men and Women: The EPIC-Norfolk Prospective Population Study

  • Kay-Tee Khaw mail,

    To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: kk101@medschl.cam.ac.uk

    Affiliation: Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge, United Kingdom

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  • Nicholas Wareham,

    Affiliation: Medical Research Council, Epidemiology Unit, Cambridge, United Kingdom

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  • Sheila Bingham,

    Affiliation: Medical Research Council, Dunn Nutrition Unit, Cambridge, United Kingdom

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  • Ailsa Welch,

    Affiliation: Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge, United Kingdom

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  • Robert Luben,

    Affiliation: Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge, United Kingdom

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  • Nicholas Day

    Affiliation: Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge, United Kingdom

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  • Published: January 08, 2008
  • DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0050012

Reader Comments (6)

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Who cares and should they?

Posted by plosmedicine on 31 Mar 2009 at 00:18 GMT

Author: James Cypert
Position: Retired Plumber
E-mail: jcypert63@att.net
Submitted Date: January 08, 2008
Published Date: January 9, 2008
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

I question the whole premise of the study. The seeming self assured "good results" for everyone's "Public Health" simply by living longer. In an age where the single greatest threat to the health and survival of individuals is their over abundance, is it not incredibly presumptuous to state that extending every life results in improved "public health. "
Is not the question one of perception? Toward what end and at what cost to the state and those from whom the state extracts the financial means to accomplish this ends are issues I would think relevant to a tax funded Public Health Service. Was that question put or ignored entirely? It was certainly ignored in the reports of the study. I have great difficulty rationalizing anyone or any agency, public or private, arbitrarily taking my dollars, taxed or not, to keep someone else alive without first demonstrating a "good" or "compelling public need." In a world ever less able to support the sheer number of living humans does it make sense to spend public dollars simply to learn how to extend life? Being 66 years old I can state my belief it does not! I can also say based on my life experience, among the last groups I would entrust with such decisions are government and it's agencies. Your Study seems filled with many doubtful background assumptions that demonstrate the issue and dilemma.

One can show a "public need" for healthy living members of a society while they are productive and reproductive and no longer. It maybe my personal wish to live or have some other specific person live longer but that personal wish is far from a basis for tax funded "public health policy." In point of fact the odds would probably favor the opposite result. "Public Health" and longevity are not synonyms. Public funding and longevity at first glance seem mutually self destructive and in the long run bad for everyone as long as the world suffers from excess population. It is past time to rethink the basis of many "Public Policies."

No competing interests declared.