The global economy and global environment are bound up with one another. Environmental change is a consequence of economic development. Environmental change and its consequent health impacts are driven by economic growth, population growth and urbanization. It has been shown that it is possible to manage economic growth in ways that preserve environmental quality and enhance human health. Achieving the benefits of economic development while minimizing its harmful impacts will require an increased awareness of links between environment and health to improve public health. Achieving these benefits will depend on a greater emphasis on prevention such as managing the environment so that health risks do not occur. This is important because health risks are associated with environmental degradation. Environmental risks are borne disproportionately by the poor and disenfranchised; not just in developing countries but in affluent nations as well. Economic disparities are increasing both within and among countries. As a result of these disparities, the rich can often protect themselves from environmental threats to health while the poor usually cannot.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called poverty the world's biggest killer. It has been shown that being poor increases one's risk of ill health. Poverty also contributes to disease and death through its second-order effects; poor people, for example, are more likely to live in an unhealthy environment. Many of the world's poorest are unable to secure even the bare necessities for a healthy life such as food, water, shelter, clothing, and health care.
Globally, one of the major causes of ill health is malnutrition. Malnutrition is an is...
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...ete for valuable industries, countries will neglect measures to restrict child labor, to protect the environment, or to ensure worker safety. Also, industries heavily regulated in the developed world because of their harmful environmental and health impacts are migrating to the developing world.
Environmental dangers to health are not only limited to developing countries. Environmental health problems vary form region to region, reflecting geography, climate, and a country's level of economic development and policy choices. Many environmental health problems are associated with poverty and a lack of essential resources. Economic growth is not sufficient to improve health for all, especially if rising income disparities mean that millions of people will not participate in those advances. As this income gap increases, the health gap is also likely to grow.
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