Deep Dives


Deep Dive 2C: Measuring Well-being


  • Dr Adnan Hyder, Senior Associate Dean for Research, Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University, USA


  • Dr Chiva Giurca Bogdan, Collaborator, National Academy for Social Prescribing, UK
  • Wangdi Karma, Chief Research Officer, Centre for Bhutan & GNH Studies
  • Dr Stephen Mac Feely, Director of Data & Analytics, WHO
  • Dr Sabine Rashid, Dean and Professor, BRAC School of Public Health, BRAC University, Bangladesh
  • Dr Sabine Vuik, Health policy analyst, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

WHO defines health as a “state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing”, yet existing health measures, including mortality and morbidity measures, often fail to capture the full extent of this definition. This narrow focus on objective measures of physical or mental health can be detrimental to understanding human experiences, but also which policies – including broader socio-economic policies – ultimately matter to health and health equity. This is why measuring wellbeing is so important for health promotion. This session will highlight how the concept of wellbeing can help us better understand people’s lived experiences, including health, but also subjective wellbeing, social connections or happiness. Taking a global perspective, it will explore how a wellbeing approach can also be helpful to understand how socio-economic and health policies ultimately impact people’s lives, as recent evidence on the link between stalled mortality rates in some high-income countries and broader economic policies have shown us. The session will then further analyse the extent to which an increased focus on wellbeing measurement and analytics can help us better understand the link between health, wellbeing, and the social, economic and environmental conditions that affect them, and provide the tools and evidence needed for policy-makers to choose policies that improve wellbeing. Through a moderated discussion, panelists will explore existing efforts to measure wellbeing, including the OECD Better Life Index, discuss existing knowledge gaps, and propose recommendations for future analytical work.