School of Business and Economics


21 Jan 2019

Dr Castro wins award for his paper on the impact of sugar consumption on diabetes expenditure

close up of a chocolate bar

Dr Vitor Castro, Senior Lecturer in Economics at the School of Business and Economics, has won the Pedro Pita Barros 2018 Prize (€3,500) for his paper “Pure, White and Deadly… Expensive: A Bitter Sweetness in Health Care Expenditure”, published in the journal Health Economics, December 2017.

Dr Castro on the importance of the research:

“For a long time several researchers have called for public attention to the huge negative effect of sugar consumption on health. This study embraces that idea and looks at its economic cost by analysing the impact of sugar consumption on diabetes expenditure and total health care expenditure from a macroeconomic perspective.

“This piece of research shows that a higher sugar intake is associated with a substantial increase on diabetes expenditure and total health care spending. Sugar is not only causing the health problems highlighted in medicine literature, but, consequently, also boosting health care expenditures.

“In that sense, this paper is important to raise awareness of this trend in health care spending with governments and the public in general and so they can focus on developing measures that invert this trend.

“Although some countries, like the UK, are starting to implement the so called ‘sugar tax’ as a way of fighting this public health problem, we believe that more profound work has to be done in terms of public information and education.”

The Pedro Pita Barros award is promoted by the Portuguese Association of Health Economics (APES) and sponsored by the National Association of Pharmacies (ANF). It aims to promote research in the field of Health Economics by young researchers and recognise their contribution to the field. This prize is awarded every two years to the best scientific paper published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal in the two years preceding the year of the award.

This prize was created with the objective of recognizing the contributions and influence that Professor Pedro Pita Barros has had to the development of Health Economics. He is the most influential Portuguese health economist and has played a unique role in attracting and retaining young researchers to this area.

You can access the paper here.