Health economics and nutrition: a review of published evidence


JG Carlberg, Department of Agribusiness & Agricultural Economics, University of Manitoba, 353-66 Dafoe Road, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3T 2N2. E-mail: Phone: +1-204-474-9827. Fax: +1-204-261-7251.


The relationship between nutrition and health-economic outcomes is important at both the individual and the societal level. While personal nutritional choices affect an individual's health condition, thus influencing productivity and economic contribution to society, nutrition interventions carried out by the state also have the potential to affect economic output in significant ways. This review summarizes studies of nutrition interventions in which health-related economic implications of the intervention have been addressed. Results of the search strategy have been categorized into three areas: economic studies of micronutrient deficiencies and malnutrition; economic studies of dietary improvements; and economic studies of functional foods. The findings show that a significant number of studies have calculated the health-economic impacts of nutrition interventions, but approaches and methodologies are sometimes ad hoc in nature and vary widely in quality. Development of an encompassing economic framework to evaluate costs and benefits from such interventions is a potentially fruitful area for future research.