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The Maynard Doctrine: the poetic determinants of health

Professor Alan Maynard OBE examines the determinants of lifetime health through the prism of the ‘Bard of Hull’  Philip Larkin’s  best-known poem.

The ‘experts’ are predicting that many children born in 2010 will live for a hundred years and more provided the population is not cropped by Malthusian war, diseases and famine (and earthquakes and volcanic eruptions!).

It is generally agreed that that the major determinants of health are genetic endowment and individual behaviour. Healthcare (the rescuing of citizens after they have fallen into the river of illness) has a significantly beneficial but much smaller effect on population health.

The role of genetics
“They fuck you up, your mum and dad”