Economic Rationality in Choosing between Short-Term Bad-Health Choices and Longer-Term Good-Health Choices

David Campbell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    7 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Non-contagious, chronic disease has been identified as a global health risk. Poor lifestyle choices, such as smoking, alcohol, drug and solvent abuse, physical inactivity, and unhealthy diet have been identified as important factors affecting the increasing incidence of chronic disease. The following focuses on the circumstance affecting the lifestyle or behavioral choices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in remote-/very remote Australia. Poor behavioral choices are the result of endogenous characteristics that are influenced by a range of stressful exogenous variables making up the psychosocial determinants including social disenfranchisement, cultural loss, insurmountable tasks, the loss of volitional control and resource constraints. It is shown that poor behavioral choices can be economically rational; especially under highly stressful conditions. Stressful circumstances erode individual capacity to commit to long-term positive health alternatives such as self-investment in education. Policies directed at removing the impediments and providing incentives to behaviors involving better health choices can lead to reductions in smoking and alcohol consumption and improved health outcomes. Multijurisdictional culturally acceptable policies directed at distal variables relating to the psychosocial determinants of health and personal mastery and control can be cost effective. While the content of this paper is focused on the conditions of colonized peoples, it has broader relevance.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5971-5988
    Number of pages18
    JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
    Volume10
    Issue number11
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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