outlines some interesting data. The first column on the left gives the proportion of
deaths attributable to the six top causes of mortality in the USA in 1973, listed in the
second column (Heart dis. =all heart disease; CVD, cerebro-vascular disease; pneumon =
pneumonia; Respiratory= all other respiratory diseases). The third to sixth columns list
the proportional contribution to the disease estimated to arise from each of the four
columns of: 1. medical care (how much medical care does to prevent mortality from the
particular diseases in column two), 2. lifestyle, 3. environmental and 4.biological
contributions. These proportions are derived from epidemiological studies.
What can you
conclude about the predominant sources of cause or prevention of these conditions?
If we look at the fourth most important cause of death in the USA in 1973, accidents,
we see that about 85% of the variance in accident rates arises from life style and
environmental factors, with biology being largely irrelevant as a contributor (2%) and
subsequent medical care accounting for little more than one sixth (13%) of the variation
in mortality from accidents. Other causes, like cancer,have a larger estimated
contribution from biology, but less from treatment.