Promoting health, preventing disease: is there an economic case? – European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies – 2013

Posted on December 4, 2013. Filed under: Health Economics, Public Hlth & Hlth Promotion | Tags: |

Promoting health, preventing disease: is there an economic case? – European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies – 2013

“Executive summary

A core question for policy-makers will be the extent to which investments in preventive actions that address some of the social determinants of health represent an effi cient option to help promote and protect population health. Can they reduce the level of ill health in the population? How strong is the evidence base on their effectiveness and, from an economic perspective, how do they stack up against investment in the treatment of health problems? Are there potential gains to be made by reducing or delaying the need for the consumption of future health care resources? Will they limit some of the wider costs of poor health to society, such as absenteeism from work, poorer levels of educational attainment, higher rates of violence and crime and early retirement from the labour force due to sickness and disability?

This policy summary provides an overview of what is known about the economic case for investing in a number of different areas of health promotion and non-communicable disease prevention. It focuses predominantly on addressing some of the risk factors for health: tobacco and alcohol consumption, impacts of dietary behaviour and patterns of physical activity, exposure to environmental harm, risks to mental health and well-being, as well as risks of injury on our roads.

It highlights that there is an evidence base from controlled trials and welldesigned observational studies on the effectiveness of a wide range of health promotion and disease prevention interventions that address risk factors to health. Moreover, the cost–effectiveness of a number of health promotion and disease prevention interventions has been shown in multiple studies. Some of these interventions will be cost-saving, but most will generate additional health (and other) benefits for additional costs. ”

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