The Economics of Prevention


There is rising concern about the expected increase in the burden of chronic diseases in OECD countries, particularly in relation to changing lifestyles.

The OECD is using a conceptual framework to address this. We are primarily focusing on whether and to what extent efforts should be made to prevent non-communicable diseases rather than to accept the consequences of treating and managing them. We are also devising appropriate methods for assessing prevention programmes, and are applying the conceptual framework and assessment methods to the analysis of conditions linked to diet and physical activity, such as obesity and alcohol-related diseases.



The majority of the population, and one in five children, are overweight or obese in the OECD area. The obesity epidemic has spread further in the past five years, but rates have been increasing at a slower pace than before. 



Alcoholic beverages, and their harmful use, have been familiar fixtures in human societies since the beginning of recorded history. Worldwide, alcohol is a leading cause of ill health and premature mortality, and its social costs are significant. 


Data on the economics of prevention


Related PROJECTS AND documents

Working Papers



This project is managed and led by the OECD and in co-operation with other international organisations working on similar issues, in particular the European Commission and the World Health Organization.

More information on the background and timeline of this project


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