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The Fourth Stage of the Epidemiologic Transition: The Age of Delayed Degenerative Diseases

S. Jay Olshansky and A. Brian Ault
The Milbank Quarterly
Vol. 64, No. 3 (1986), pp. 355-391
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Milbank Memorial Fund
DOI: 10.2307/3350025
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3350025
Page Count: 37
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The Fourth Stage of the Epidemiologic Transition: The Age of Delayed Degenerative Diseases
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Abstract

Gains in longevity in the United States since the midnineteenth century occurred as a result of an epidemiologic transition: deaths from infectious diseases were replaced by deaths from degenerative diseases. Recent trends in cause-specific mortality suggest a distinct new stage, one of postponement of degenerative diseases. Projections based on these data must be applied cautiously; their implication for health and social policies are likely to be profound.

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