The U.S. Government devotes billions of dollars to health care expenditures. It now spends more on health care than any other country in the world. Pretty much everyone can agree that pouring money into something is senseless without tackling the systemic problems that obstruct success. So, it’s time to turn heads to the subject of population health— the colossal canopy of environmental and social system health determinants. GPO makes available an Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, National Institutes of Health publication that meets this topic head on.
This book takes a hard, systems-level look at the overall wellbeing of a population. Individual biology and specific diseases are still considered unignorably important areas of study. But that’s not the purpose of this book. The operating idea is this: if large population groups share common health risks, then population-based interventions have the potential to produce considerable impacts. The under-recognized casual relationships involving demographics and human behavior have a profound effect on life expectancy and health-related quality of life.
The text is sectioned into 23 chapters that zero in on demographic and social epidemiological perspectives, behavioral risk policies, biological factors, healthcare investment and economics, and emergent population health tools. Here are a few takeaways to get you thinking…
- “Despite spending far more on health care than any other nation, the United States ranks near the bottom on key health indicators. This paradox has been attributed to underinvestment in addressing social and behavioral determinants of health.”
- “The vast majority of deaths in the United States and worldwide are due to non-communicable diseases (NCD) like cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, and respiratory disease. The key determinants of these mortality rates are behavioral and social risk factors that include smoking, use of drugs and alcohol, poor diet, and lack of physical activity.”
- “Of the $2.9 trillion in annual health-related expenditures, about 97 percent is devoted to health care, while only 3 percent is devoted to factors outside of the health care system. In other words, 97 percent of the investment is chasing the potential for 10 percent of the benefit, while as little as 3 percent of the expenditure is devoted to factors that may explain 50 to 90 percent of the potential benefit.”
This report is a push for more interdisciplinary, structural approaches to public health practice. Hopefully, an understanding of population-level health delivery and outcomes will hasten multi-level solutions. Altogether, there is still so much to learn about the effects of various behavioral and social factors on the way health and health care is improved upon. It’s the kind of learning that can’t come fast enough. Because the return on investment will likely be extended life expectancy and improved quality of life for everyone.
HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS FREE EBOOK?
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- Click here to download Population Health: Behavioral and Social Science Insights (ePub)
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About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.