Chapter 1

  • Sandy A. JohnsonEmail author


Health and development have a symbiotic relationship that impacts human potential as well as community and national capabilities. Although the relationship between health and development has been discussed for centuries, there is yet no concrete agreement as to which deserves primacy as a key to improving well-being. A healthy population can contribute to economic growth, and economic growth provides financial resources that can, in turn, be invested in inputs to health and overall well-being. The improvement in the wealth and health of much of the world’s population that occurred from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century serves as an example of the interaction between the health of a population, the welfare of a state, and overall well-being. Parts of the Americas, Australia, Europe and China realized large improvements in well-being but regions such as Africa and South East Asia lagged behind. Although various theories attempt to explain the different outcomes, no single theory has been able to fully explain both the improvement and the divergence. Rather, the theories offer different perspectives in terms of the impacts and interactions of the growth in national wealth and human health, and describe how geographic location and political institutions inform national needs and capabilities. These, in turn, inform policy options that direct the development trajectory. This chapter examines the theoretical and empirical roots of the health and development paradigm, and introduces standard measurements used to gauge change in health and development outcomes.


Life Expectancy Gross Domestic Product Total Fertility Rate Yellow Fever Average Life Expectancy 
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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Josef Korbel School of International StudiesUniversity of DenverDenverUSA

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