Developing policy solutions for a more active nation: Integrating economic and public health perspectives

Sara N. Bleich, Roland Sturm

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

Abstract

Both economic and public health/medical perspectives play an important role in the policy process but often approach policy questions in an incompatible way. Harnessing any synergy requires an understanding of the other perspective. We begin by comparing and contrasting the economic and public health perspectives, including introducing relevant economic concepts. We next identify economic considerations for the development of environmental incentives that promote physical activity. We then assess features of the political environment which could impact the success of policy alternatives aimed at increasing physical activity. We conclude with several policy levers that may promote active living. Throughout the manuscript, we use the term economics to refer to classical economics and utility maximization rather than behavioral economics. In addition, we focus mostly on normative economics (which offers prescriptions for what should be done) rather than positive economics (which offers predictions of economic outcomes conditional on various hypothetical scenarios).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)306-308
Number of pages3
JournalPreventive Medicine
Volume49
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2009

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Keywords

  • Active living
  • Economics
  • Policy alternatives
  • Public health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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