Health Risk Factors and Their Trends

In the past years, humanity identified and successfully found cures for many, previously deadly diseases. However, the current situation in many low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) to stay mostly unsatisfactory in terms of population health. Leading risk factors include, but are not limited to, smoking, low physical activity, lack of proper sanitation, unsafe sex, and water contamination (Merson et al., 2020). Many of these factors are a result of improper behavior, poor environment, and social structures (Merson et al., 2020). These risk factors were eliminated in high-income countries, but continue to inflict major damage to people’s health across the globe.

All these risk factors are modifiable, albeit it would take a great effort to change people’s lifestyles to eliminate them. The major causes of death and disability in LMIC in the 2020s will continue to be various cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, gastrointestinal diseases, and respiratory diseases (Jacobsen, 2019). According to Jacobsen (2019), most of these problems occur because “people with lower incomes have fewer resources for addressing modifiable risk factors” (p. 142).

Despite already having done various improvements to alleviate this problem, governments still need to implement global policies to prevent, control, treat, and educate about diseases with modifiable risk factors. However, public ignorance, the difference in wealth and traditions between countries serve as an obstacle for the effective implementation of these policies.

Several environmental health problems are tied to a certain location or climate zone. Issues that are tied to houses and workplaces are easier to identify and eliminate, for example, lead exposure is one of the most common environmental contaminations, but avoidable by setting stringent standards for lead levels. However, issues that are connected with sudden climate changes due to relocations, and lack of biodiversity in communities require a more complicated approach (Merson et al., 2020). For example, reductions in biodiversity are tied to increased land usage which leads to habitat loss of many species, but policies required to ameliorate this issue remain mostly unimplemented in LMIC (Merson et al., 2020).

People’s concerns about the impact humans have on the planet imply that environmental health problems steadily increase and finally became obvious to all. With an ever-increasing strain on the environment, major issues like global warming signify the need for wiser resource management, like technologies that would sustain the human population without destroying the planet in the process.

References

Jacobsen, K.H. (2019). Introduction to global health (3rd ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Merson, M.H., Black, R.E., & Mills, A.J. (2020). Global health (4th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.