The term prevention refers to planning for and taking action to avoid the occurrence of an undesirable event. As it relates to health, prevention aims to hinder the development of diseases or illnesses or avoid injuries. Prevention can be divided into three levels: primary, secondary, and tertiary. The entry discusses each of these levels of prevention and presents examples applied to both communicable and noncommunicable diseases as they relate to individual as well as community efforts.

The importance of prevention in improving health cannot be overlooked. Though the death rates have been decreasing in the United States, preventive actions could further lower these rates. Approximately one third of Americans live with a chronic disease, and almost 70% of the deaths that occur each year are the ...

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