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The Future of Population Health
Centennial Issue Population Health
Neil K. Mehta
May 26, 2023
May 2, 2023
Apr 25, 2023
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The United States and many other countries have achieved immense improvements in life expectancy and the general health profile of their populations over the past half century. These improvements have spanned virtually all stages of the life course, including marked reductions in mortality among infants and children as well as among those over the age of 85 years.1 Particularly noteworthy has been the rapid decline in deaths from cardiovascular disease and improvements in the overall functioning of the population in the form of reduced disability.2,3
Against this positive backdrop has been the emergence and persistence of the obesity epidemic. The most recent figures for the United States are startling (even for an obesity researcher): 42% of US adults were classified as being obese in 2017.4 Among children and adolescents aged 2–19 years, the prevalence was 20%.5 Some of the same economic and technological forces that have led to long-run health improvements have produced, as an unwanted byproduct, the obesity epidemic.
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The Milbank Quarterly’s multidisciplinary approach and commitment to applying the best empirical research to practical policymaking offers in-depth assessments of the social, economic, political, historical, legal, and ethical dimensions of health and health care policy.