There is an increasing recognition that noncommunicable diseases are overtaking infectious diseases as the world’s leading cause of morbidity and mortality. Many of the major risk factors contributing to noncommunicable diseases are potentially modifiable lifestyle factors. Normative controversies persist about governments’ role in protecting people from the adverse consequences of individual lifestyles. Justifications for interventions involve notions of risk to others, protection of incompetent individuals, risk to self, and justice. Further, lifestyle-induced diseases put strain on public health care, and there is a recurrent debate on the possibility to ration health care based on individual lifestyle information. As long as lifestyle choices are shaped by circumstances, such as social institutions, belief systems, and class orientation, lifestyle rationing should not be unconditionally supported.
KeywordsNoncommunicable diseases Lifestyle risks Prevention Paternalism Nudge Luck egalitarianism Distributive justice
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