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Population Health

Globalization generally refers to the increasing integration of societies in terms of economic, social, and political factors. With it comes complex changes in the very nature of our society, bringing new opportunities as well as risks. According to Laudekke 2014, globalization has had an overall positive impact on health, especially for people in developing nations. In many ways, that is true. For instance, global transportation and the communications revolution enable rapid response to epidemics and catastrophes, saving thousands of lives.

Nonetheless, there is also a downside to the health and well-being of people as a direct or indirect result of globalization. For example, as a result of the rapid mobility of people across borders, the spread of infectious diseases is a threat to everyone, particularly the poor. Further infectious diseases can now spread more easily because of increased worldwide travel.

The Global Economy

From an economic standpoint, most economists agree that globalization provides a net benefit to individual economies around the world, by making markets more efficient, increasing competition, limiting military conflicts, and spreading wealth more equally around the world.

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According to Bergh et. al. 2014, inequities between and within countries have decreased and due to globalization, absolute poverty is reduced as noticed by the growth of incomes of the poor and in turn beneficial for their health. There are economic risk factors associated with globalization as it leads to the interdependence between nations, which could cause regional or global instabilities if local economic fluctuations end up impacting a large number of countries relying on them.

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Choose one of the three socio-environmental determinants (income, place of residence, or gender).

  • Describe how this determinant can lead to inequities in health and opportunities in a particular population.
  • Explain how this inequity may be framed as a human rights issue.

Income and Health Inequities

Many factors combine together to affect the health of individuals and communities. Whether people are healthy or not, is determined by their circumstances and environment. To a large extent, factors such as where we live, the state of our environment, genetics, our income and education level, are linked to better health. According to Skolnik, R. (2016), there is a strong relationship between income and health disparities. This is noticeable by the appreciable gaps in health care access, coverage, health status, fairness of financing, and health care benefits between the less well-off and the better-offs. As it relates to access, the richest 20% in both South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, were four times more likely than the poorest 20% to have birth attended by skilled personnel. Another evidence supporting the inequity in health status due to income is evident by the fact that children under 5, from the lowest income group in both South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, were two times more likely to be underweight relative when compared to their counterparts in the highest income group. This inequity of health status between the less well-off and the better-off is further highlighted by coverage of measles immunization data from UNICEF. In this data, children of the richest 20% of families were immunized against measles at more than twice the poorest 20%.

With respect to health and human rights, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family. Therefore, in accordance with UDHR, health inequities associates with income disparity may become a human rights issue.

Cite this page

Globalization and Risks to Health. (2020, Nov 25). Retrieved from

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