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Am J Public Health. 1993 Nov;83(11):1527-30.

Adult health: a legitimate concern for developing countries.

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  • 1London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, England.


Adults, defined here as people between 15 and 59 years of age, in developing countries have a high risk of premature death and suffer from frequent morbidity and high rates of chronic impairment. Their ill health imposes a major burden on health services and large negative consequences on families, communities, and societies. This paper describes the level and impact of adult mortality and morbidity, and highlights some of its characteristics and causes, which in some cases contradict commonly held beliefs. It concludes that "adult health" is a legitimate public health concern for developing countries that is not being addressed. An agenda for remedial research and action is proposed.

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