Biological Health Risks and Economic Development
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.
Ho is grateful for financial support from the National Institutes of Aging (grant T32AG000139 awarded to the Duke Population Research Institute). The comments of Eileen Crimmins, Arun Hendi, Sam Harper, John Komlos and Teresa Seeman have been very helpful. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
"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