Sick individuals and sick populations: 20 years later

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Abstract

Twenty years after Geoffrey Rose published his classic paper, the central messages remain highly relevant to modern public health policy and practice. The individual and population approaches are fundamentally different but both are needed. Recent examples of powerful population approaches prove Rose’s point that norms can change benefiting the most deprived. Individual approaches have also succeeded but their protection of the most deprived communities is limited. Consumerism in health and over-reliance on individual approaches risk widening health inequalities.

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