Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(11), 5971-5988; doi:10.3390/ijerph10115971
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Economic Rationality in Choosing between Short-Term Bad-Health Choices and Longer-Term Good-Health Choices

Centre for Remote Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Medicine, Flinders University, P.O. Box 4066, Alice Springs NT 0871, Australia
Received: 28 September 2013; in revised form: 31 October 2013 / Accepted: 1 November 2013 / Published: 8 November 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economics of Prevention of Alcohol and Tobacco Related Harms)
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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.
Keywords: smoking; alcohol abuse; health; behavioral choice; psychosocial determinants; human capital

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MDPI and ACS Style

Campbell, D. Economic Rationality in Choosing between Short-Term Bad-Health Choices and Longer-Term Good-Health Choices. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10, 5971-5988.

AMA Style

Campbell D. Economic Rationality in Choosing between Short-Term Bad-Health Choices and Longer-Term Good-Health Choices. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2013; 10(11):5971-5988.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Campbell, David. 2013. "Economic Rationality in Choosing between Short-Term Bad-Health Choices and Longer-Term Good-Health Choices." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 10, no. 11: 5971-5988.

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