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Will cardiovascular disease prevention widen health inequalities?

In a Policy Forum published this week in PLoS Medicine, Simon Capewell and Hilary Graham review different population strategies for preventing cardiovascular disease and conclude that screening and treating high-risk individuals may be ineffective and widen social inequalities. The authors conclude “there is evidence that CVD prevention strategies for screening and treating high-risk individuals may represent a relatively ineffective approach that typically widens social inequalities. In contrast, policy interventions to limit risk-factor exposure across populations appear cheaper and more effective; they could also contribute to leveling health across socioeconomic groups”. The researchers suggest that all future strategies aimed at improving population health will merit rigorous evaluation of their potential impact on inequities.

Funding: SC and HG are funded by The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). HEFCE had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing Interests: SC was Vice-Chair of the NICE Programme Development Group on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Populations. HG has long advocated policies to reduce social inequalities. This paper arises from discussions at NICE, but does not necessarily reflect the views of NICE.

Citation: Capewell S, Graham H (2010) Will Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Widen Health Inequalities? PLoS Med 7(8): e1000320. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000320

IN YOUR COVERAGE PLEASE USE THIS URL TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE FREELY AVAILABLE PAPER:

http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1000320

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: www.plos.org/press/plme-07-08-capewell.pdf

CONTACT:

Simon Capewell

University of Liverpool

Public Health

Whelan Building

Quadrangle

Liverpool, Merseyside L34 2QP

United Kingdom

0044 151 794 5576

[email protected]




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