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JAMA 100 Years Ago
January 20, 2010

PREVENTABLE WASTE OF LIFE

JAMA. 2010;303(3):282. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1891

Especially significant as an indication of the progress for better health conditions is a pamphlet recently issued by the Provident Savings Life Assurance Society of New York, entitled “The State and the Death-Roll,” and designed to show the increased waste of life from kidney, heart, brain and other non-communicable maladies in the past thirty years, in contrast to the reduction in the death-rate from contagious diseases. The author, Mr. E. E. Rittenhouse, president of the society, refers to the report of Professor Irving Fisher on national vitality, showing that over six hundred thousand human lives are needlessly sacrificed in the United States every year, and that about three million persons are constantly seriously ill in the United States, more than one-half of these illnesses being preventable. The financial importance of these statements to life insurance companies is evident.

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