NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Biological Health Risks and Economic Development

Elizabeth Frankenberg, Jessica Y. Ho, Duncan Thomas

NBER Working Paper No. 21277
Issued in June 2015
NBER Program(s):Development Economics

With populations aging and the epidemic of obesity spreading across the globe, global health risks are shifting toward non-communicable diseases. Innovative biomarker data from recently conducted population-representative surveys in lower, middle and higher income countries are used to describe how four key biological health risks – hypertension, cholesterol, glucose and inflammation – vary with economic development and, within each country, with age, gender and education. As obesity rises in lower income countries, the burden of non-communicable diseases will rise in roughly predictable ways and the costs to society are potentially very large. Investigations that explain cross-country differences in these relationships will have a major impact on advancing understanding of the complex interplay between biology, health and development.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21277

Published: "Biological health risks and economic development." in John Komlos and Inas Rashad Kelly (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Economics and Human Biology, Oxford University Press, 2016

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