Thursday, November 16, 2006

A healthier population is a wealthier population

Marketwatch a MSN Money reports the results of a study relating health and wealth. The study reports that height, lower body mass index, and male gender are all related to greater wealth.

More interesting:
"In an analysis of 26 rich countries between 1960 and 2000, reductions in cardiovascular mortality emerged as a robust predictor of subsequent economic growth," McKee's study says. "In one model, a 10% fall in cardiovascular mortality is associated with a 1% increase in per-capita income. Although this may not seem large, it amounts to a substantial contribution over the long term."
This suggests that increased spending on and increased effectiveness of national healthcare is an investment in the economy. Public spending on healthcare will provide benefits for all of us.

It would be interesting to see a similar study of general obesity related to per-capita income. I'd be willing to hypothesize that significant reduction in obesity would correlate to both increased per-capita income and to lower per-capita spending on health care.

For people who object to growth in government, this increased health and lowered obesity is a public good. That is, it is a benefit that the private market cannot sell for a profit. So this is clearly a reason to expand government services.

Just some fact-inspired thoughts for your early morning perusal.

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