Economics of noncommunicable diseases

Economics of health

The global health burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) is large and growing, as this group of diseases already accounts for 70% of total deaths. Global evidence indicates that the high health burden of NCDs translates into significant economic and social costs that threaten to diminish the quality of life of millions of individuals, impoverish families, jeopardize universal health coverage, and increase health disparities within and between countries. Evidence consistently shows that the NCD epidemic cannot be tackled through interventions and policies in the health sector alone. In particular, prevention measures that address NCD risk factors involve a range of sectors including finance, trade, education, agriculture, and transportation. As economics has become the common language among decision makers across sectors, it is imperative that health authorities leverage economic information to more effectively communicate the urgency of tackling NCDs and related risk factors.

This thematic issue of the Pan American Journal of Public Health is part of a continued collaboration between the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and PAHO/WHO to fa­cilitate intragovernmental dialogue for a better understanding of NCD issues by making economic evidence available in the Americas, and to assist countries in integrating economic approaches into their NCD prevention and control policies.

All manuscripts are available in English and Spanish.

Download one PDF with the supplement (English and Spanish versions):


Advancing the economics of noncommunicable diseases in the Americas

Carissa F. Etienne
Editorial | PDF: | Published 06 July 2018

Building collaborations to integrate economics into noncommunicable disease action

Theresa Tam
Editorial | PDF: | Published 06 July 2018


Identifying patterns of unhealthy diet and physical activity in four countries of the Americas: a latent class analysis

Sahara Graf and Michele Cecchini
Original research | PDF: | Published 06 July 2018

Integrating economics into the rationale for multisectoral action on obesity

Vivian L. Ellis and Olga V. Milliken
Review | PDF: | Published 06 July

Development of an investment case for obesity prevention and control: perspectives on methodological advancement and evidence 

Olga V. Milliken and Vivian L. Ellis
Review | PDF: | Published 06 July 2018

Pathways from trade to health

Teresa Cyrus
Special report | PDF: | Published 06 July 2018

New strides in tobacco taxation: the case of Argentina

María Elisabet Pizarro, Germán Rodríguez-Iglesias, Patricia Gutkowski, Juan Altuna and Belén Ríos
Special report | PDF: | Published 06 July 2018

An economic perspective on the causal explanations for the socioeconomic inequalities in health

Lori J. Curtis
Opinion and analysis | PDF: | Published 06 July 2018

Affordability of beer and soft drinks in 15 Latin American countries

Guillermo Paraje and Pablo Pincheira
Original research | PDF: | Published 30 August 2018


Interested readers are invited to download the free related publication, available in English and Spanish.

Economic Dimensions of Non-Communicable Disease in Latin America and the Caribbean

Legetic B, Medici A, Hernández-Ávila M, Alleyne G, Hennis A (Eds.) (2017)