The Questionable Contribution of Medical Measures to the Decline of Mortality in the United States in the Twentieth Century

Legislators, practitioners, and the public may deem it “heretical,” but analysis of United States data shows that introduction of specific medical measures and expansion of services account for only a fraction of the decline in mortality since 1900. Even acknowledging that “mortality” and “health” are not synonymous, analysis of age- and sex-adjusted rates still suggests important trends and generates hypotheses for informed social action.

Author(s): John B. McKinlay; Sonja M. McKinlay

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Volume 55, Issue 3 (pages 405–428)
Published in 1977