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Australian study shows how to get best value from preventive measures

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c5025 (Published 14 September 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c5025
  1. Melissa Sweet
  1. 1Sydney

    Huge health gains could be achieved by a few key preventive interventions, including taxing unhealthy foods, higher taxes on tobacco and alcohol, and limiting salt in bread, cereals, and margarine, a new Australian study concludes.

    The evaluation of preventive measures to improve health, published by the University of Queensland, Brisbane, and Deakin University, Melbourne, also recommends stopping prostate specific antigen testing to screen for prostate cancer and other measures that it says are not cost effective, including aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (www.sph.uq.edu.au/bodce-ace-prevention).

    It recommends disinvesting from most approaches to promoting fruit and vegetable intake, weight loss programmes, and school based interventions against illicit drug use.

    It advises what “may seem like a radical approach” of encouraging laparoscopic gastric banding for severely obese people, saying that this would be far better value than dietary and exercise interventions, which tend not to lead to long term weight loss.

    One of its major recommendations is to use cost effective generic drugs or a low cost polypill to treat …

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