European Journal of Public Health | VOL. 30

22.E. Workshop: The planet, economic growth and ourselves: evidence from population health trends in rich countries

Publication Date Sep 1, 2020


Abstract Sustainable Development Goal 8 (SDG8) calls for sustainable economic growth, and this is essential for improving population health in developing countries. However, SDG8 also raises a vital and poorly addressed question for rich countries. Is it possible for population health to continue to improve rather than stagnate or even worsen over long periods of zero or low economic growth? The Preston curve, relating average income per person to life expectancy at one point in time, shows the association across countries is highly nonlinear, but does not assess the longitudinal relationship within countries. In the past decade of low growth and austerity, long-term increasing life expectancy trends in UK and USA have stalled. The reasons for the interruption in health improvement are disputed, and include increased socioeconomic and geographic inequalities, such as early disadvantage, and deaths of despair. If the pattern of low growth and stagnant health trends was repeated across rich countries, there would be reason for concern that continuing population health improvement was incompatible with an environmentally sustainable economy. The workshop will examine evidence from G7 countries on trends in health and health inequalities over the past 40 years. The headline health indicators are life expectancy, lifespan variation, all-cause and cause-specific mortality and self-rated health. The workshop will bring together recent findings from two distinct research networks, based i...


Low Growth Population Health Health Trends Rich Countries G7 Countries Population Health Trends Economic Growth Deaths Of Despair Preston Curve Health Inequalities

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