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June 23/30, 2004

Modifiable Behavioral Factors as Causes of Death

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie, MD, PhD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2004;291(24):2941. doi:10.1001/jama.291.24.2942-a

To the Editor: By focusing solely on behavioral factors as the underlying cause of deaths, Dr Mokdad and colleagues1 may have perpetuated the argument that these preventable deaths are the individual's responsibility alone. By contrast, a growing body of research has reported significant relationships between health and a variety of social determinants, including income, race, ethnicity, sex, and occupation.2,3 The relationship between health and these social determinants may not operate exclusively through differences in the prevalence of behavioral risk factors.4

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