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With reference to a named disease of affluence, outline the impact on health, economic development and lifestyle.

A disease of affluence affecting MEDCs such as the USA and the UK is Coronary Heart Disease. The rate of this disease is increasing due to the high rates of obesity and smoking in both countries. The disease has an adverse effect on an individual’s health, making them less physically active, less able to work long hours, and generally reducing their disability-adjusted life years (DALY). This negatively impacts the economy, as less people being able to work means that less people are producing goods, resulting in national economic downturn.

Being unable to work puts a heavier need on economic support from the government. The treatment costs of the disease are very high, causing an increase in health tax, particularly in the UK with its National Health Service (NHS). If health taxes increase, the most economically disadvantaged people in society will continue to struggle to ‘pay their way’.

The high treatment costs are causing governments to take action by increasing the amount of public campaigns encouraging healthy eating and discouraging smoking. By changing their lifestyle to become healthier and be more physically active, less people will be diagnosed with Coronary Heart Disease, lowering the cost of healthcare.

The children of those who have the disease as a result of obesity are more likely to follow the lifestyles displayed by their parents, making them more prone to developing the disease in the future. This will subsequently continue the cycle of economic loss as a result of the disease.

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