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Politics & Current Affairs

Global Health Objective #1: Prevent Non-Communicable Diseases

Public health experts generally agree that policies which encourage positive lifestyle changes will improve the economy by increasing worker productivity and reducing health care costs.

What’s the Latest Development?

Given the increasing threat that non-communicable diseases pose to global health, as well as to the global economy, health experts have called for a series of global studies to examine strategies for preventing conditions like diabetes and obesity. “With increasing numbers of people in the developed and developing world suffering from ill health associated with both genetic and lifestyle factors, the problem is more than just a medical concern.” Micro-economic policies, such as New York’s ban on massive soads and taxes of fatty foods, may be successful at decreasing consumption but their effects on the wider economy must also be studied.

What’s the Big Idea?

Given the great advances modern medical science has made against communicable diseases, health officials are turning their gaze toward non-communicable conditions in which lifestyle choices are more important than administering a drug regimen. The threat to public health posed by non-communicable diseases is serious: “The target set at the 65th World Health Assembly to reduce premature deaths from NCDs by 25% by 2025 adds to the urgency and there is a growing swell of opinion about the importance of tackling the problem.” Generally, it is believed that policies aimed at improving public health will also benefit the economy by improving worker productivity and reducing health care costs.

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Depending on which economist has the stage, America’s economy is either experiencing slow growth, remains dismally flat, or stands ready to fall off a cliff. Nearly everyone agrees that the economy needs help. The nation’s debt and budget deficits are reaching, or have already reached, fiscal crisis levels. Historians will analyze someday how close the United States came during this period to reaching the economic breaking point as a nation. Truth be told, some fear that the breaking point may still occur.

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