Key points

  • This briefing makes the case for the nation’s health to be viewed as an asset that requires long-term investment for our society to prosper. 
  • It also describes a research programme, funded by the Health Foundation, that will assess the effect of an individual’s health on their social and economic outcomes.

The Health Foundation believes health should be viewed as an asset to be invested in. In this briefing, we ask, what is the social and economic value of maintaining and improving people’s health?

Individuals place more value on being healthy than on factors like income or careers, but societal goals are still described in terms of income, employment and economic growth. Too often, policymaking is short-term and narrowly focused on GDP-based metrics – with the social and economic value of health overlooked.

The biggest influences on people’s health are wider social determinants including their quality of housing and education, access to good quality work and affordable food.

The Health Foundation wants to see more action on the strategies that help people stay healthy. To increase the evidence base, the Health Foundation is funding a research programme on the social and economic value of health.

Cite this publication

Marshall L, Finch D, Cairncross L, Bibby J, 'The nation's health as an asset'. Health Foundation; 2018 (https://www.health.org.uk/publications/the-nations-health-as-an-asset)

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