The Influences of Prevention on the Quality of Life


This research proposes the concept of “utility-adjusted life expectancy” (UALE), which adjusts the lifetime survival function with a more comprehensive utility measure that combines utilities from both consumption and health to investigate the influences of prevention intervention on a population’s well-being. We find that an economy with appropriate preventative healthcare provisions is associated with better human well-being and greater UALE in terms of utility-adjusted life years (UALYs). Based on Taiwan’s experiences, when the share of prevention spending to GDP increases from real 0.27% to 1.19% for growth maximization, the per capita GDP growth rate increases from 3.2% to 4%. Human well-being increases from 26.37 UALYs to 32.57 UALYs. Over all, human well-being increases by 6.2 UALYs. When this share is at 2.03% for welfare maximization, the economy grows at 3.9%, and the UALE increases by 6.65 UALYs. The economy trades a 0.1% economic growth rate reduction for 0.45 UALYs of well-being improvement.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3


  1. Bertram, M. Y., Lauer, J. A., De Joncheere, K. Edejer, T., Hutubessy, R., Kieny, M. P., & Hill, S. R. (2016). Cost-effectiveness thresholds: Pros and cons, Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 94925–930. Accessed June 10, 2019.

  2. Cohen, J. T., Neumann, P. J., & Weinstein, M. C. (2008). Does preventive care save money? Health economics and the presidential candidate. New England Journal of Medicine, 358(7), 661–663.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Drummond, M. F., Sculpher, M. J., Torrance, G. W., O’Brien, B. J., & Stoddart, G. L. (2005). Methods for the economic evaluation of health care Programmes. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Easterlin, R. A., Angelescu, L., & Zweig, J. S. (2011). The impact of modern economic growth on urban-rural differences in subjective well-being. World Development, 39(12), 2187–2198.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Garber, A. M. (2000). Advances in cost-effectiveness analysis of health interventions. In A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (Eds.), Handbook of health economics. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Glasziou, P. P., Cole, B. F. R., Gelber, D., Hilden, J., & Simes, R. J. (1998). Quality-adjusted survival analysis with repeated quality-of-life measures. Statistics in Medicine, 17(11), 1215–1219.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Hall, R. E., & Jones, C. I. (2007). The value of life and the rise in health spending. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 122(1), 39–72.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Maciosek, M. V., Coffield, A. B., Flottemesch, T. J., Edwards, N. M., & Solberg, L. I. (2010). Greater use of preventive services in US health care could save lives at little or no cost. Health Affairs, 29(9), 1656–1660.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Murphy, K. M., & Topel, R. H. (2005). The value of health and longevity. Journal of Political Economy, 114(3), 871–901.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Murray, C. J. L., Salomon, J. A., Mathers, C. D., & Lopez, A. D. (2002). Summary measures of population health: Concepts, ethics, measurement and application. Geneva: WHO.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Patrick, D. L., & Erickson, P. (1993). Health status and health policy: Quality of life in health care evaluation and resource allocation. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Rosen, S. (1994). The quantity and quality of life: A conceptual framework. In G. Tolley, D. Kenkel, & R. Fabian (Eds.), Valuing health for policy: An economic approach (pp. 221–248). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Russell, L. B. (2007). Prevention’s potential for slowing the growth of medical spending. Washington: National Coalition on Health Care, October. Accessed July 24, 2018, at report.pdf.) Idem.

  14. Sacks, D. W., Stevenson, B., & Wolfers, J. (2012). The new stylized facts about income and subjective well-being. Emotion, 12(6), 1181–1187.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Stanfield, J. P. (1993). The balance between preventive and curative care. Tropical and Geographical Medicine, 45(5), 263–266.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Tolley, G., Kenkel, D., & Fabian, R. (1994). State-of-the-art health values. In G. Tolley, D. Kenkel, & R. Fabian (Eds.), Valuing health for policy: An economic approach (pp. 323–344). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Torrance, G. W. (1986). Measurement of health utilities for economic appraisal- a review. Journal of Health Economics, 5, 1), 1–1),30.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Verbrugge, L. M. (1984). Longer life but worsening health? Trends in health and mortality of middle-aged and older persons. The Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly, 62(3), 475–519.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Verbrugge, L. M. (1989). Recent, present, and future health of American adjust. Annual Review of Public Health, 10(1), 333–361.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Wang, F., & Wang, J. D. (2017). Telehealth and sustainable improvements to quality of life. Applied Research in Quality of Life, 12(1), 173–184.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Wang, F., Wang, J. D., & Huang, Y. X. (2016). Health expenditures spent for prevention, economic performance, and social welfare. Health Economics Review, 6, 45.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. WHO (World Health Organization). (2012). Measurement of healthy life expectancy and wellbeing. Geneva: Department of Health Statistics and Information Systems, WHO.

    Google Scholar 

  23. WHO (World Health Organization). (2014). WHO methods for life expectancy and healthy life expectancy. Geneva: Department of Health Statistics and Information Systems, WHO.

    Google Scholar 

Download references


This work was supported by grants from the Ministry of Science and Technology of Taiwan (Grant no. MOST104-2410-H-006-109 -, MOST105-2410-H-006-091, MOST 107-2410-H-006-082-, and MOST 108-2410-H-006 -088 -MY2). The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Fuhmei Wang.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

The author has declared that no conflict of interest exist.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Wang, F. The Influences of Prevention on the Quality of Life. Applied Research Quality Life 16, 129–139 (2021).

Download citation


  • Prevention
  • Human well-being
  • Utility-adjusted life expectancy