Examine the Reasons for, and the Consequences of, the Fall in the Death Rate Since 1900

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Examine the reasons for, and the consequences of, the fall in the death rate since 1900 (24 marks) The overall death rate in the UK has remained pretty much stable since 1900, being around 600,000. Death rate is the number of deaths per 1000 per population per year. In 1900 there was of course a much smaller population than of today, which would have meant the death rate would have been out of a smaller amount of people. Since the 1900, the death rate has fallen. In 1900, the death rate was 19, however, in 2007, it stood at 10. N.L Tranter argues it in 1996 that over 75% of the decline in the death rate from 1850-1970 was because of a decline in the number of people dying from infectious diseases. These diseases include diphtheria, influenza, scarlet fever, measles, smallpox, diarrhoea, typhoid and tuberculosis. Most of the decline of deaths caused by these diseases was among the younger generation, which was because these diseases were most common within the young. However, the infectious diseases had been replaced in the 1950s by ‘diseases of affluence’ which were illnesses such as heart disease and cancers, which were the main cause of death. These diseases affected usually the middle-aged, older generation, rather than the young. It's possible that the population began to develop some natural resistance to these infections, and a result of natural selection, some diseases became less powerful. Improved Nutrition has accounted for up to half of the decline in death rates, argued by Thomas Mckeown in 1972. This was particularly important in reducing the number of people dying from tuberculosis (TB). Because of this better and improved nutrition, the resistance to infections has also increased, as well as the survival chances of those who did become infected. However, many have argued Mckeown’s point of view, as it does not include or explain the reason,
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