The OECD and the European Observatory on Heath Systems and Policies joined forces to conduct a study on the economics of public health and health promotion. This study provides a first opportunity to comprehensively review the case for investment in actions to prevent key non-communicable diseases, accidents and injuries across different sectors, in a policy relevant fashion for the whole of the WHO European Region.
A growing body of evidence from economic studies shows areas where appropriate policies can generate health and other benefits at an affordable cost, sometimes reducing health expenditure and helping to redress health inequalities at the same time. The evidence is especially strong for policies to curb tobacco smoking and harmful alcohol use, while gaps still exist in the evidence base on tackling unhealthy diets and lack of physical activity, as well as environmental exposures and road accidents. The book underscores the importance of taking a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach in addressing the rising tide of non-communicable diseases.
Released October 2015
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The study brings together contributions from leading authorities in the economics of public health, health promotion and disease prevention not only in Europe but at a global level. The study is primarily focused on interventions addressing behavioural risk factors, such as diet and physical activity, alcohol and tobacco consumption. But it also looks at risk factors for widespread mental health conditions, accidents and injuries, and aspects of the physical environment in which we live that may affect the health of adults and, especially, children.
Broader, cross-cutting, issues are also addressed in the study, such as the role of interventions on the social determinants of health, with an entire chapter dedicated to the role of education and educational interventions. The study looks at the equity implications of public health actions. If the uptake of a public health intervention is higher in more affluent groups, one unintended consequence of investment in that programme may be to widen health inequalities. The study explores how equity concerns have been addressed in economic evaluations of public health interventions and looks at ways in which such concerns might be routinely incorporated into economic evaluations in this area.
The study places a special emphasis on the context in which interventions are to be implemented and how this impacts on cost effectiveness, for instance, looking at issues in respect of workforce capacity and skills, or the role of key stakeholders in policy design and implementation, or, in the case of behaviour modifying interventions, looking at factors that may encourage uptake and continued use where appropriate.
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