The Global Environmental Health Picture

Although health around the world improved on average over the last half century—due mainly to improvements in environmental health fundamentals such as access to clean water, nutritious food, and adequate sanitation, alongside public health basics such as prenatal care and immunizations— it is likely that these gains will be lost if the environmental foundation for health continues to deteriorate. Billions of people already suffer from the effects of degraded environments: At the beginning of the twenty-first century fully one-third of the global burden of disease was attributed to environmental factors (Murray and Lopez).

Lack of clean water for drinking, inadequate sanitation, and lack of hygiene affect a third to a half of the world's population and are responsible for 7 percent of all death and disease globally. Chemical agents, particularly in the form of air pollution, are considered major causative factors in increased rates of bronchitis, heart disease, and cancer. The incidence of asthma is mushrooming. Certain forms of cancer are on the rise. The health of people around the world is diminished by exposure to toxic substances such as lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and dioxins. As local and global ecosystems show increasing signs of stress, human health is likely to become far less stable and far more difficult to maintain. Children are hit especially hard by environmental health problems: The World Health Organization estimates that environmental hazards kill at least 3 million children under age five each year (United Nations Environment Programme).

There is a broad international consensus that the earth's ecosystems are under considerable strain, and global environmental decline will be the defining public health context in the twenty-first century (McMichael, 2001). According to an international report, the overall health of the earth's natural systems declined by 37 percent in the 1990s (World Wildlife Fund), fueled largely by population growth combined with unsustainable levels of consumption and production, which have increased in aggregate even more quickly than have human numbers.

Diabetes 2

Diabetes 2

Diabetes is a disease that affects the way your body uses food. Normally, your body converts sugars, starches and other foods into a form of sugar called glucose. Your body uses glucose for fuel. The cells receive the glucose through the bloodstream. They then use insulin a hormone made by the pancreas to absorb the glucose, convert it into energy, and either use it or store it for later use. Learn more...

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