Chapter

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: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780190459376.003.0003
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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