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Our health behaviour under the microscope

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Kristian Bolin

Why do we smoke when we know it is dangerous? Why don’t we exercise, even though we know it ‘s good for us? And how many carbohydrates should we really eat to function in the best way possible? There are many knowledge gaps in health economics that need to be filled.

The media is full of health advice. Every day we are given tips about how we should approach unsaturated fats, carbohydrates or gluten. But this information is often conflicting. Who should we believe?

“The scientific evidence behind the statements is weak at most, and for the most part insufficient. Growing awareness about what is good and what is bad is a huge social challenge,” says Kristian Bolin, Director of the Centre for Health Economics at the School of Busi- ness, Economics and Law.

Behavioural issues are increasingly important

Health economics applies economic theories and methods to a health context. Traditionally, it often calculates the costs and effects of various incentives, such as new treatment forms or increased teaching of gymnastics in schools. Now our health behaviour is under scrutiny.

“There is not just a lack of knowledge of what is actually good for us, we don’t know very much about how we can get people to change their behaviour in the long run. That is why research in this subject is so important,” says Kristian Bolin.

Collaborating for knowledge

The Centre for Health Economics is one of the few places in Sweden to have coordinated efforts on health economics.

“Here, we run both multi-disciplinary research and collaborate with users outside of academia as part of a living cluster. The majority of projects are based of clinical studies to involve both health economists and medical professionals. For example, at the moment we are studying the consequences of early years conditions in later life,” says Kristian Bolin.

 

Kristian Bolin

Professor of Health Economics since 2014, Director of CHEGU, Centre for Health Economics at the University of Gothenburg – Sweden’s only centre for research in health economics.

This is an artikle from the School's Magazine 2017.
Read the magazine as pdf