Background: Starfield and colleagues  suggest that the concept of prevention has gone astray. We have sought to extend their ideas.
Methods: Our methods are to take the Starfield et al article and argue that it is both possible and useful to see prevention in a wider context both going beyond prevention in health care and viewing prevention as a social good.
Results: This wider view results in some questioning of the nature of the benefits of prevention. At the same time it suggests that the values of informed citizens might be more often elicited to help to establish the principles underpinning the concept of prevention.
Conclusion: There is a need for further debate involving various different disciplines to examine the concept of prevention in greater depth.