The Causes of Cases Versus Causes of Incidence

Katherine M. Keyes and Sandro Galea

in Population Health Science

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print June 2016 | ISBN: 9780190459376
Published online August 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780190459406 | DOI:
The Causes of Cases Versus Causes of Incidence

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An overview is provided of the concept that population-level causes are different than individual-level causes. A description of the seminal work of Geoffrey Rose is used to illustrate the concept of individual- versus population-level causes, including the concept of ubiquitous causes. The principles illustrated by Rose are expanded by presenting three quantitative examples that illustrate how and when individual-level causes and population-level causes differ. A discussion is included regarding how preventive strategies can make substantial differences to population health by building on Rose’s work, and the difference between approaches that focus on high-risk individuals and approaches that aim to shift the population curve of health. The third foundational principle of population health science is then introduced: large benefits to population health may not improve the lives of all individuals.

Chapter.  6167 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health ; Epidemiology

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