March 19, 1982

Preventive Health Care

Author Affiliations

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill


edited by R. S. Chang, 492 pp, with illus, $28, Boston, GK Hall & Co, 1981.

JAMA. 1982;247(11):1631. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320360067043

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The editor promises to deal chiefly with methods for the implementation of primary prevention, that is, general and specific measures to prevent the onset of disease. The book is intended for health practitioners in primary care clinics.

There are 48 chapters on a vast range of subjects, some only three or four pages long, written by 30 authors (26 of whom are faculty members of one medical school), resulting in the unevenness of quality often characteristic of such ventures. Although there are a few good chapters, such as the ones on child health and prenatal care for the low-risk gravida, most are devoted to elementary, general descriptions of entities of disease or disability, with little, if any, specificity about measures of intervention for primary prevention. Despite the stated purpose of this collection of chapters, many focus heavily on secondary prevention—preventing the progression of a disease—and neglect primary prevention. The opening