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Economic Benefits of Investing in Women's Health: A Systematic Review.

Onarheim KH, Iversen JH, Bloom DE - PLoS ONE (2016)

Bottom Line: Building on the literature that highlights health as a driver of economic growth and poverty alleviation, we aim to systematically investigate the broader economic benefits of investing in women's health.The existing literature indicates that healthier women and their children contribute to more productive and better-educated societies.Societies that prioritize women's health will likely have better population health overall, and will remain more productive for generations to come.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.

ABSTRACT

Background: Globally, the status of women's health falls short of its potential. In addition to the deleterious ethical and human rights implications of this deficit, the negative economic impact may also be consequential, but these mechanisms are poorly understood. Building on the literature that highlights health as a driver of economic growth and poverty alleviation, we aim to systematically investigate the broader economic benefits of investing in women's health.

Methods: Using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines, we systematically reviewed health, gender, and economic literature to identify studies that investigate the impact of women's health on micro- and macroeconomic outcomes. We developed an extensive search algorithm and conducted searches using 10 unique databases spanning the timeframe 01/01/1970 to 01/04/2013. Articles were included if they reported on economic impacts stemming from changes in women's health (table of outcome measures included in full review, Table 1). In total, the two lead investigators independently screened 20,832 abstracts and extracted 438 records for full text review. The final review reflects the inclusion of 124 articles.

Results: The existing literature indicates that healthier women and their children contribute to more productive and better-educated societies. This study documents an extensive literature confirming that women's health is tied to long-term productivity: the development and economic performance of nations depends, in part, upon how each country protects and promotes the health of women. Providing opportunities for deliberate family planning; healthy mothers before, during, and after childbirth, and the health and productivity of subsequent generations can catalyze a cycle of positive societal development.

Conclusions: This review highlights the untapped potential of initiatives that aim to address women's health. Societies that prioritize women's health will likely have better population health overall, and will remain more productive for generations to come.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

The Data Extraction Process.
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pone.0150120.g001: The Data Extraction Process.

Mentions: The search algorithms captured 26,664 records, and references and colleague referrals yielded 112 additional records. We excluded 5,944 duplicates. The two lead investigators independently screened 20,834 abstracts, extracting 438 records for full text review. For the six articles that were not accessible through the Harvard University or University of Bergen libraries, we contacted the authors by email but ultimately were unable to secure the publications. The final review reflects the inclusion of 124 articles (Fig 1), with 41 originating from the reference search. The most common reasons for excluding studies from the review were that the studies did not address the scope of this study, or did not meet the study design inclusion criteria (i.e. were not experimental or observational studies). The most common reasons for excluding studies from the final review were that they did not meet the inclusion criteria (59) or poor methodology (15), e.g. failure to control for important confounders. The potential bias and validity concerns for each study are reported in S2 Appendix.


Economic Benefits of Investing in Women's Health: A Systematic Review.

Onarheim KH, Iversen JH, Bloom DE - PLoS ONE (2016)

The Data Extraction Process.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4814064&req=5

pone.0150120.g001: The Data Extraction Process.
Mentions: The search algorithms captured 26,664 records, and references and colleague referrals yielded 112 additional records. We excluded 5,944 duplicates. The two lead investigators independently screened 20,834 abstracts, extracting 438 records for full text review. For the six articles that were not accessible through the Harvard University or University of Bergen libraries, we contacted the authors by email but ultimately were unable to secure the publications. The final review reflects the inclusion of 124 articles (Fig 1), with 41 originating from the reference search. The most common reasons for excluding studies from the review were that the studies did not address the scope of this study, or did not meet the study design inclusion criteria (i.e. were not experimental or observational studies). The most common reasons for excluding studies from the final review were that they did not meet the inclusion criteria (59) or poor methodology (15), e.g. failure to control for important confounders. The potential bias and validity concerns for each study are reported in S2 Appendix.

Bottom Line: Building on the literature that highlights health as a driver of economic growth and poverty alleviation, we aim to systematically investigate the broader economic benefits of investing in women's health.The existing literature indicates that healthier women and their children contribute to more productive and better-educated societies.Societies that prioritize women's health will likely have better population health overall, and will remain more productive for generations to come.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.

ABSTRACT

Background: Globally, the status of women's health falls short of its potential. In addition to the deleterious ethical and human rights implications of this deficit, the negative economic impact may also be consequential, but these mechanisms are poorly understood. Building on the literature that highlights health as a driver of economic growth and poverty alleviation, we aim to systematically investigate the broader economic benefits of investing in women's health.

Methods: Using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines, we systematically reviewed health, gender, and economic literature to identify studies that investigate the impact of women's health on micro- and macroeconomic outcomes. We developed an extensive search algorithm and conducted searches using 10 unique databases spanning the timeframe 01/01/1970 to 01/04/2013. Articles were included if they reported on economic impacts stemming from changes in women's health (table of outcome measures included in full review, Table 1). In total, the two lead investigators independently screened 20,832 abstracts and extracted 438 records for full text review. The final review reflects the inclusion of 124 articles.

Results: The existing literature indicates that healthier women and their children contribute to more productive and better-educated societies. This study documents an extensive literature confirming that women's health is tied to long-term productivity: the development and economic performance of nations depends, in part, upon how each country protects and promotes the health of women. Providing opportunities for deliberate family planning; healthy mothers before, during, and after childbirth, and the health and productivity of subsequent generations can catalyze a cycle of positive societal development.

Conclusions: This review highlights the untapped potential of initiatives that aim to address women's health. Societies that prioritize women's health will likely have better population health overall, and will remain more productive for generations to come.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus