Health Promotion Economics

Welcome to the website of the RTI-UNC Center of Excellence in Health Promotion Economics.  The following links provide further details about our activities together with findings from research conducted by the Center.


  • Guide to Analyzing the Cost-Effectiveness of Community Public Health Prevention Approaches
    For this ASPE-funded project, we developed practical guidance on cost-effectiveness (CE) analysis for community public health program managers and evaluators. The guide contains instructions for performing CE analysis and understanding its results, examples from recent studies, and an annotated review of relevant studies in the literature. It was developed in consultation with ASPE and benefited from the advice of experts in economic evaluation, program evaluation, and current managers of health promotion programs.
  • The Incidence and Economic Burden of Injuries in the United States
    A CDC-funded book written by RTI researchers Eric Finkelstein and Ian Fiebelkorn, together with Phaedra Corso of the CDC and Ted Miller, Eduard Zaloshnja, and Bruce Lawrence of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE), provides comprehensive estimates of the costs of injuries in the United States. The book can be purchased through the Barnes & Noble Web site.

U.S. Health Indicators

CDC Reports Preliminary Mortality Findings for 2004

From preliminary 2004 mortality data, the CDC reports the highest life expectancy in the history of the US (77.9 years) and a drop of approximately 50,000 deaths between 2003 and 2004, the largest one-year drop in over 50 years. The following two charts show the life expectancy and death rate trends, respectively, in the U.S. from 1980 through 2004.

U.S. Death Rate

The following table presents a summation of basic data that describes and ranks the U.S. for a variety of health indicators.

Health Indicator


World Rank

U.S. total health care cost $1.7 trillion 1
U.S. health care cost as % of GDP 14.9% 1
U.S. per capita health care cost $5,274 1
Infant mortality rate 6.4/1000 live births 33*
Maternal mortality ratio 4.7/100,000 live births 30*
Life expectancy (overall) 77.9 years 48
Life expectancy (male) 75.0 years 50
Life expectancy (female) 80.8 years 47
DTP full immunization (age 1 year) 96% 53 (tie)
Liters of pure alcohol consumed per capita 8.5 liters 38 (tie)
Smoking adults 21.6% --
Overweight adults 65.2% --
Obese adults (ages 20-74) 30.5% --
High blood pressure adults (over age 20) 19.9% --

*All rankings in this table are from highest to lowest, except for those marked with an asterisk, which are from lowest to highest.

1. National Center for Health Statistics Health (2005). United States 2005, with Chartbook on Trends in the Health of Americans. Hyattsville, Maryland.
2. World Health Organization (2005). World Health Statistics 2005 (Global Health Atlas).
3. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, International Programs Center (2005) (International Data Base).

Contact Information

For more information about the Center and its activities, please contact:

Tom Hoerger
Center of Excellence in Health Promotion Economics
RTI International
3040 Cornwallis Road
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
+1 919 541 7146