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Economics of Health Behaviors & Health Education

Department of Economics
Economics of Health Behaviors and Health Education

(50:220:317:01, 3 credits)

Professor Tetsuji Yamada [E-mail: tyamada@crab.rutgers.edu]Office: Room Armitage Hall (ATG) #330, Tel: 856-225-6025
Department Office: ATG 4th floor, Department of Economics, Tel: 856-225-6136
ATG 207: 1:30pm – 2:50pm (Tuesday & Thursday)
Office Hours:
ATG 330: Tuesday and Thursday (11:30AM-1:00PM & 4:30-5:30PM) or by Appointment
Econ web site of Yamada: http://economics.camden.rutgers.edu/faculty/tetsuji-yamada/
Econ Department website: http://economics.camden.rutgers.edu/

Required Reading:

  • McKenzie, Neiger, and Thackeray. (Latest edition), Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating Health Promotion Program, Pearson/Benjamin Cummings, San Francisco.

Recommended Reading:

  • Paul J. Feldstein, (2011), Health Policy Issues: An Economic Perspective, AUPHA, Chicago.
  • Glanz, K., Rimer, B.K., and Viswanath, K., Eds. (2008), Health Behavior and Health Education: Theory, Research, and Practice, Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, (4thEdition).

Course Objectives:

            This class is designed to provide students who are interested in the health behaviors, health policy, governments, non-profit organizations, and healthcare industry other with the knowledge and skills needed to incorporate policy perspectives. Students will understand the theory of health economics and behaviors with its applications to a policy to improve the health of the population. The emphasis of the course is on the conceptualization and measurement of variables associated with determinants of health behavior, treatment specification, and behavioral changes. The relationship between healthcare providers and consumers will be explored in depth.

            This class will also introduce students to the economics of health behavior and health education, human service professions, and health care fields; as well as to the concepts and principles underlying the factors that affect various risky health behaviors and environments. Theory-based analysis of interpersonal, group, and community factors that influence health behavior will be discussed. Health behavior includes actions or activities undertaken for the purpose of promoting, preserving, and restoring wellness, as well as actions and activities that endanger wellness or cause illness. We will understand how to use health behavior and health education as economic tools in health promotion and disease prevention programs in schools, at home, in health care settings, and in other community settings. This course emphasizes the acquisition of some aspects of theoretical understanding, but also provides basic practical knowledge that would prove helpful to those engaged in teaching, health policy planning, and working healthcare fields.

Objectives of this course are policy and educational applications as follows:

  1. Recognize, discuss and comprehend health issues (determinants of health behavior).
  2. Analyze environmental and institutional factors involved in indentifying and solving health related issues.
  3. Discuss, understand, and implement solutions to health problems.
  4. Observe or interview an administrator from at least one agency that focuses its resources on improving health education and health promotion.
  5. Recommend and implement policies to resolve health related issues and problems.
  6. Identify the major issues and problems in health education, including ethical and political considerations in behavioral and social change and needs for future research.
  7. Identify and describe the nation’s goals, priorities, population groups, and objectives for health promotion and disease prevention, and the principal strategies being used to achieve the Healthy People 2010 national health promotion and disease prevention objectives.
  8. Identify and describe selected models from the behavioral and social sciences that are used in health education and discuss how they have been used in designing health education programs.
  9. Describe the role of behavioral intervention and health education in health promotion and in the prevention of disease and disability
  10. Describe the role of individual behavior in determining health status and identify individual-level health education intervention strategies that have been used to change health-related behavior.
  11. Demonstrate an ability to identify a relevant behavior that is a potential determinant of health status or health outcome; conduct a social, epidemiologic, behavioral, and educational diagnosis; and outline the components of a behavioral or educational intervention that can be used to change that health-related behavior.
  12. Demonstrate an ability to explain how demographic change in the U.S. will impact health education delivery into the future.

Additional Course Description:

            This course provides a conceptual framework for students who seek careers in health education and presents clear, succinct principles of health education, health promotion, and disease prevention. The course is designed to introduce students to the competencies necessary for being a health educator, and the concepts and skills required for carrying out effective health education programs in a variety of different settings, including school, community, health care and worksite settings. Through a combination of text readings, class discussion, course projects, and self-study, students will gain certain core concepts in the fields of public health and health promotion.

Course Schedule



1. Health education: issues, problems, health promotion, health status, and health economics aspects


2. Health determinants: health behavior socioeconomic environment, and model for program planning


3. Health professions and organizations: public health and planning process


4. Health education, health promotion, and needs assessment


The 1st mid-term examination: chapters 1-4 [1:30-2:50 p.m., February]


5. Measurements, goals, and objectiveness of programs


6. Promotion, intervention and evaluation


The 2nd mid-term examination: chapters 5-8 [1:30-2:50 p.m., March]


7. Health promotion and marketing


8. Evaluation of health promotion, behavioral change, cost-benefit/effective analysis, and data analysis


Final examination: chapters 11-15 [May]


Course Requirements:

1 Testing

          Ten examinations will be given; including quizzes and homework assignments. The examinations will be announced approximately one week in advance. Make-ups will not be given unless the instructor is consulted in advance and permission is given or unless extraordinary circumstances arise (as judged by the instructor) which prevent advance contact. Questions should be answered thoughtfully. These questions are formed by the information discussed in class discussions, and both required and supplemental readings. More specific instructions will be attached to the exam when it is handed out.

2 Case Studies [group project], Research [individual project], and Presentation

          Students will visit an agency or a program that focuses on the health of children & adolescents. They will then write a paper relating the programs & services available to the literature about the particular health issue targeted and health intervention. This assignment will be discussed in further detail in class. Each student will get the opportunity to share their case study or field visit experiences with their classmates. A research report presentation in the class is required. We also examine and assess the effectiveness of own individual project through a quasi/indirect health education/promotion by using economics tools.  

3 Attendances and Participation

            Class attendance is crucial to this course. Class will begin promptly. Participation is also crucial to this course. Students are expected to actively participate in each class by contributing thoughts, ideas, and information based on assigned readings and personal resources. Discussion in class is encouraged at all times. I expect you to attend class regularly. It has been my experience that students who miss classes generally have greater difficulty in learning the material. Class participation is directly factored into the final grade and it will also be considered in borderline cases.

4 Timely Completions of All Assignments


I accept your assignments by hand in the class. Do not submit your assignments by email.

Late Submission:

Assignment: Late assignments will receive an automatic zero on the assignment.

2 Mid-exam and one final examination: Any unexcused absence from an exam (midterm or final exam) will receive an automatic zero for that examination.

Notice to Students:

To obtain the maximum benefit from the course you should do the assigned readings prior to class and attend the lectures. Specific questions and dates for quizzes and homework will be given in conjunction with the topics. Academic honesty shall be maintained in accordance with University policy.

5 Criteria for Evaluation

          After the end of the semester, students will receive a final grade report. This will include a breakdown of the points he/she earned for his/her two mid-term examinations, an individual project, a group project, one final examination, assignments, and a point total with the corresponding letter grade.

The grading breakdown and exam schedule are as follows:


Grade Point (%)

1st mid-term examination

15 [February 21st]

2nd mid-term examination

15 [March 28th]

Group project

15 [Due by April 25th]

Assignments and class participation


Individual project

15 [Due by May 7th]

Final examination

25 [May 9th]

Total Grade Point


Grading System:

Letter grade

Total points

Letter grade

Total points




















< 50


            Plagiarism takes many forms. Flagrant forms include purchasing or copying a paper from the internet or from a fellow student or anyone else, whether or not that paper is published; copying or cutting and pasting portions of others’ work (whether a phrase, sentence, paragraph, chart, picture, figure, method or approach, experimental results, statistics) without attribution. A more subtle, but equally heinous, form is paraphrasing or attempting to put in your own words the theories, opinions or ideas of another without proper citation. Carelessly, inadequately or inaccurately using citations are also a form of plagiarism. Fabricating citations is a very serious form. Re-using your own previous work without appropriate citation is plagiarism. Even inappropriately assuming that a fact or idea is common knowledge and, therefore, not providing a citation is plagiarism.


            Examples of cheating include, but are not limited to: giving or receiving unauthorized assistance to/from another on quizzes, examinations, assignments; using materials or devices (such as calculators, computers, cell phones) not specifically authorized during any form of a test or examination; sitting in for someone else or permitting someone to sit in for you on any form of test or examination; working on any form of test or examination beyond the allotted time; hiding, stealing or destroying materials needed by other students; and altering and resubmitting for re-grading any assignment, test or examination.


         An act of academic misconduct will have consequences. Depending on the specific nature and circumstances of one’s behavior, a student who is found to have violated academic integrity may be subject to one or more of the following:

  • Performing additional work(s) intended to assist the student in avoiding future misconduct.
  • Redoing the work, up to and including repeating the entire class.
  • Reduction in grade on a particular submitted piece of work, or segment of work required for a course or the entire course down to and including a failing grade.
  • Within five business days of notification, the instructor will inform the student dean and the department chairperson, and, if necessary, review the procedures to be followed and any prior history of violations by the accused student.