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The Relative Contribution of Multiple Determinants to Health

Health Affair Blog

The last several decades have seen a growing interest in what defines and shapes health. Despite having the highest per capita health spending, the United States lags behind many other countries in many health indicators, and glaring health disparities remain. The United States devotes a small share of its health expenditures (less than 9 percent) toward disease prevention.

Policy has often focused on health care rather than health, with a significant lack of emphasis on prevention, in spite of the fact, as the literature suggests, that the multilevel promotion and adoption of healthy behaviors stands to reap the most “bang” for our health care “buck.” Knowledge of the relative importance of health determinants can help design programs that prioritize interventions in areas where they are likely to have the greatest impact. However, addressing even the few determinants that are thought to be most responsible for good health requires policy makers to work across all sectors, public and private, and at the federal, state, and local level.

Go here for more on this very interesting study from Health Affairs and related research.

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