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Health cascade

\hɛlθ\ \kæˈskeɪd\

A theory of longevity improvements, where healthy behaviours are first adopted by more comfortable socio-economic groups (due to better opportunities and education). These behaviours then ‘cascade’ through society with less fortunate socio-economic groups adopting them later.

An example of the health cascade in action was the occurrence of smoking cessation. Smoking prevalence in higher socio-economic groups reduced far earlier than it did for lower socio-economic groups, with significant relative health gains for the relevant section of the population. Smoking is still more prominent in lower socio-economic groups; however, this does mean that there are more gains to be made in this section of society.

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