Medicine And Books

Preventionitis: The Exaggerated Claims of Health Promotion

BMJ 1994; 309 doi: (Published 17 December 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:1668
  1. George Davey Smith,
  2. Charlie Davison

    Ed James Le Fanu Social Affairs Unit, pounds sterling 9.95 + pounds sterling1 p&p, pp 133 ISBN 0-907631-58-4

    Across the political spectrum there is widespread disagreement about how we should best advance the national health. On one matter, however, disputants from left and right agree: they despise health promotion. To collectivists, health education entails “blaming the victim.” The responsibility for health problems lies in the inequalities of society, and health education does nothing more than foist this responsibility on to the very people who suffer most and are in the least powerful position to change their circumstances. Thus exhortations to “eat yourself fitter” serve only as a smokescreen for the real problems.

    Such attitudes to health promotion come from commentators who believe, …

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