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Track 7: Health, environment and sustainable development.
Mälardalen University, Department of Caring and Public Health Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8256-4437
Mälardalen University, Department of Caring and Public Health Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3787-1040
2007 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

There is a growing recognition that health, environment and sustainable development have a crusial significance for the future of the mankind. The problems differ between the industrialized and the developing countries but the globalization process implies an increasing interchange. In some countries, lack of basic services and poverty still constitute the main problems. In other countries, the large-scale, rapid industrialization and urbanization cause new types of hazards. In the industrialized countries, the advances in science, technology, infrastructure and education have resulted in increasing life opportunities for the great majority during the past century. Accordingly, at the same time as the development process may result in considerable gains to people, they also involve new kinds of threats to people’s health and widening health gaps between and within countries.

Environmental factors are a major contributor to ill health all around the world and especially in the poorest regions. Traditional public health risks such as defective food and water, contamination of the environment and inferior sanitation are still prevalent. Moreover, new environment problems have emerged, some of which appear to threaten the entire ecosystem. An improved understanding of the complex relationships between developmental processes, environmental capacity and health is a crucial challenge.

The determinants of health should be regarded as part of an integrated whole in a broader developmental perspective. The settings, in which health is created, such as the work environment, should be considered. The impact on health of the environmental and social consequences of the globalization process (increasing inequalities within and between countries, new patterns of consumption and communication, commercialization, global environmental change, and urbanization) ought to be studied. In conlusion, the economic development, protection of the environment and promotion of public health must be addressed together in an integrated way in practice as well as in research. Sustainability, social justice, equity and human development represent important key concepts in both areas.

In the industrialized countries, the health hazards related to the living conditions and physical environment have been circumscribed by research, welfare reforms, regulations and legislations. However, new kinds of health problems seem to emerge concurrently with the ongoing change of the labour market. The globalization process involve that the traditional manufacturing industry are transferred to low-wage countries. The new jobs (information processing and service work) seem to be characterised by more work overload and job insecurity resulting in more stress symptoms. The prevalence of mental health problems are increasing while the traditional musculo-skeletal disorders remain at a constant high level. This development indicates that the traditional effort concerning occupational safety and health with the focus on individuals and the physical working environment is not sufficient to meet the new spectrum of ill health. It needs to be complemented by a wider public health perspective that integrates the level of the individual with the group, the company or organisation and the society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. p. 35-
National Category
Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-3696OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-3696DiVA, id: diva2:116360
Conference
13th Annual International Sustainable Development Research Conference, Västerås,
Available from: 2007-09-07 Created: 2007-09-07 Last updated: 2017-04-05Bibliographically approved

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Åkerlind, IngemarTillgren, Per

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