Study: Healthy living boosts economy

November 10, 2006

Good health not only benefits the individual but also a nation's economy, British researchers said.

University of London researchers studied the link between health and wealth in economically well-off countries, finding that healthier people were more productive at work, earned more, and spent more time in the work force, the British Medical Journal said. Although research found that better health raised economic growth in poor countries, it was less clear whether this occurred in wealthy countries.

The researchers said their findings confirm several early studies, the Journal said. They said about 30 percent of the economic growth in the United Kingdom from 1790 to 1980 could be attributed to improved health and diet. A study of 10 industrialized countries also found that better health habits increased the rate of economic growth by about 30 percent.

The researchers cautioned that more information tracked in a consistent manner was needed to track how health contributes to economic development, the Journal said.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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