Christopher Wanjek, a writer for has an interesting article on risk reduction in health outcomes. Here is an excerpt:
“Risks are established in health studies. For example, doctors will study thousands of patients with circulatory disease and look for commonality. They find that many of these patients have high levels of a certain kind of cholesterol or fatty acid in their blood, have high blood pressure, or smoke. Through medication or lifestyle change, a patient can lower these risks but never eliminate them. Conversely, these risks are merely known indicators; the absence of these indicators doesn’t mean disease won’t develop. Risk reduction is the essence of public health. The message goes out to stop smoking, to eat more vegetables and to exercise more in order to reduce risks across the entire population. Nationwide, the rate of circulatory disease will fall. But that doesn’t mean you won’t get it if you follow the marching orders. For example, most adults with diabetes are overweight. So, sure, lose weight. But skinny people do get diabetes.”