Preventing disease of affluence: a summary
Diseases of affluence, or loss of health due to lifestyle habits associated with modern affluent society, usually feature far less in prevention policy compared with infectious diseases and accidents. This is disproportionate to the degree of widespread illness they cause; improved lifestyle habits could increase not only life expectancy, but also the number of healthy years and years free of disability/chronic conditions. Right now we are seeing a (sometimes significantly) increase of life expectancy without a corresponding increase in the number of years free of disability/chronic disease. Within the context of increasing demand for care, prevention offers major societal advantages in terms of both paid and unpaid productivity and participation. Prevention is one possible solution to rising healthcare costs and the looming and imminent difficulties in the labour market.