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The Great Health Dilemma – Is Prevention Better than Cure? - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Great Health Dilemma: Is Prevention Better than Cure?

Christopher Dye


The proverbial benefits of prevention over cure are self-evident—and yet we are reluctant to invest in staying healthy. Resolution of this age-old dilemma begins with a timeless truth: the benefits of good health come at a cost: prevention is not better than cure at any price. That logic leads to a testable—and refutable—proposition: that prevention should be favoured when an imminent, high-risk, high-impact hazard can be averted at relatively low cost. Application of this idea helps to explain why cigarette smoking is still commonplace, why the world was not ready for the COVID-19 pandemic, w ... More

Keywords: prevention, cure, reward, risk, hazard, value, threat, choice, epidemiology, public health

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2021 Print ISBN-13: 9780198853824
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2021 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198853824.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Christopher Dye, author
Professor of Epidemiology, University of Oxford