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The core aim of preventive medicine is to ensure that premature death or major disease events, routinely defined as death before the age of 65, is uncommon and that morbidity in the population is minimized. Services to prevent disease are among the most important and potentially cost-effective provided by the NHS and most preventive strategies are provided in primary care. Their content and delivery needs to be underpinned by a firm evidence base, however, a remarkably low proportion of medical research expenditure in many countries including the UK is committed to prevention research. As such, it has become a focus for the School. Prevention is a key NHS priority but the evidence base is limited by under-investment.

In terms of a focus for the disease prevention research, our principal efforts focus upon cardiovascular disease and cancer. The WHO stated in 2010 that the main causes of cardiovascular disease, ischaemic heart disease and stroke, were the most important causes of premature death and major disability (and therefore health system costs) on the planet. In addition, factors supporting CVD such as smoking and high blood pressure are the most important to risk factors to modify. Many questions remain as to how we can effect change in these major health issues, and ongoing SPCR research hopes to answer some.