Health, wellbeing, and care should be top of everyone’s political agendaBMJ 2019; 367 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l6503 (Published 15 November 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l6503
All rapid responses
Congratulations - in the current editorial, Professor Maggie Rae and John Middleton have presented the past health failures in policy making very well and succinctly . Do political decision-makers forget that wellbeing (welfare = good health + happiness + prosperity) of the individual in summation is an essential part of overall economic prosperity expressed in monetary units [2, 3]? Already 100 years ago, the British economist Arthur Cecil Pigou (1877-1959) pointed this out in his standard work "The Economics of Welfare" .
Focusing on the shared responsibility of the state and the economy, of society and the individual, I would like to mention the systematic review by Masters and colleagues from UK: The median return on investment in human health (ROI) was 14.3 for public health interventions (which means a cash return of 1430%), 4.1 for local interventions, and for nationwide public health interventions an ROI of 27 was found . A cross reading of this article certainly does not harm health.
So - please stand up! Right now? You don't necessarily have to sit when you read this eLetter. A conservative estimate alone via the screen suggests that a very large proportion of policy makers in the UK parliament have a high or very high waist circumference and presumably a relatively low cardiorespiratory fitness level. This deficit in one's own state of health negatively affects the decisions of the politicians at this election once again not to worry about health, wellbeing, and care. It is regrettable that the holistic health of the 6th Kondratieff cycle plays only a minor role in the austerity policy throughout the European Region .
1. Rae M, Middleton J. Health, wellbeing, and care should be top of everyone's political agenda. BMJ 2019;367:l6503. doi:10.1136/bmj.l6503
2. Pigou AC. The economics of welfare. London: MacMillan & Co.;1920.
3. Boyce T, Brown C. Economic and social impacts and benefits of health systems. Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe; 2019. Available at: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/329683/9789289053952-en...
4. Masters R, Anwar E, Collins B, Cookson R, Capewell S. Return on investment of public health interventions: a systematic review. J Epidemiol Community Health 2017;71(8):827-34. doi: 10.1136/jech-2016-208141
5. Dyakova M, Hamelmann C, Bellis MA, Besnier E, Grey CNB, Ashton K et al. Investment for health and well-being: a review of the social return on investment from public health policies to support implementing the Sustainable Development Goals by building on Health 2020. Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe; 2017 (Health Evidence Network (HEN) synthesis report 51). Available at: http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/345797/HEN51.pdf
Competing interests: No competing interests