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Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

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

TitleDeveloping policy solutions for a more active nation: Integrating economic and public health perspectives
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsBleich, SN, Sturm, R
JournalPreventive medicine
Volume49
Pagination306-308
Date PublishedOct
ISBN Number1096-0260; 0091-7435
Accession Number19616575
Keywords*Exercise, *Health Policy, *Social Marketing, Health Promotion/*economics, Humans, Motor Activity, Politics, Public Health/*economics, United States
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).