SOC 280 Discussion Importance of Environmental Effects on Public Health and Economy

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SOC 280 Discussion Importance of Environmental Effects on Public Health and Economy

Discussion Prompt 1:Discuss how the institutions of
government and economy may affect the healthcare institution. Support your
response with evidence from your readings or other sources.

Discussion Prompt 2:Is it more important to focus on
improving the economy or the environment? Explain your answer referencing both
the conflict and functionalist perspectives.

The environment affects our health in a variety of ways. The interaction between human health and the environment has been extensively studied and environmental risks have been proven to significantly impact human health, either directly by exposing people to harmful agents, or indirectly, by disrupting life-sustaining ecosystems [1]. Although the exact contribution of environmental factors to the development of death and disease cannot be precisely determined, the World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that thirteen million deaths annually are attributable to preventable environmental causes [1]. The report also estimates that 24% of the global disease burden (healthy life years lost) and 23% of all deaths (premature mortality) are attributable to environmental factors, with the environmental burden of diseases being 15 times higher in developing countries than in developed countries, due to differences in exposure to environmental risks and access to health care.

SOC 280 Discussion Importance of Environmental Effects on Public Health and Economy 

SOC 280 Discussion Importance of Environmental Effects on Public Health and Economy

However, huge economic development and population growth result in continuing environmental degradation. Intensification of agriculture, industrialization and increasing energy use are the most severe driving forces of environmental health problems. For countries in the early stages of development the major environmental hazards to health are associated with widespread poverty and severe lack of public infrastructure, such as access to drinking water, sanitation, and lack of health care as well as emerging problems of industrial pollution. However, environmental health hazards are not limited to the developing world. Although at a lesser extend, environmental risks are also present in wealthier countries and are primarily attributed to urban air and water pollution. Occurrences of Asthma are rising dramatically throughout the developed countries, and environmental factors appear to be at least partly to blame [1]. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment [2] synthesis report warns that the erosion of ecosystems could lead to an increase in existing diseases such as malaria and cholera, as well as a rising risk of new diseases emerging.

Climate change is also posing risks to human population health and well-being and thus is emerging as a serious concern worldwide [3–6]. In 2000 climate change was estimated to be responsible for approximately 2.4% of worldwide diarrhoea and 6% of malaria [1]. According to the IPCC third assessment report the world temperature is expected to further rise during the century, implying increased health threats for human populations, especially in low-income countries.

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