Human health has long been an issue of great interest and curiosity besides the subject of vast research and studies. What makes us tick?
The human body is like a well-oiled machine and functions well when all the systems are carrying out their ‘duties’ properly in conjunction with each other. But the larger ‘duty’ of managing the body well rests with us. Health is the vast sum of all functions that humans have to exercise in order to survive in a given situation or environment, the diverse the environment the greater the emphasis on health and its importance. But the irony is that besides illnesses and diseases that are the leading causes of deaths globally, factors like air pollution, water pollution, exposure to chemicals and pesticides also cause millions of deaths each year.
Let’s get in detail some information on this as well as other health related issues from around the world.
Health studies and medical data provide the startling fact that air pollution from industry and vehicle exhaust lead to the premature death of over 3.5 million people each year. When you find that that number is more than the combined deaths from Aids/HIV and Malaria, it is a rather grim picture indeed!
Particulate matter and gases like nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide from vehicular emissions and burning fossil fuels are the leading causes of suppressed lung growth in young children, asthma, diabetes and heart disease. Fetal brain growth is affected severely when pregnant women are exposed to air pollution. Even in countries that have strict legislation in place and have long histories of tackling air pollution, the solution does not seem to be in sight. Globally, several countries are involved in long-running legal tussles with world environmental agencies and pollution control boards over their failure to cut pollution levels. The ill-effects of global warming and the severity in weather patterns is something we have been witnessing for over a decade now.
A recently concluded report on the health and lifestyle habits of Australians has thrown up some very worrying facts. Australian Health Policy Collaboration released ‘Australia’s Health Tracker’ which examines the health of the people in relation to chronic illnesses and associated risk factors. The report concluded that Australia ranks as one of the most obese countries in the world with every fourth Australian being obese or overweight. An overwhelming 92 percent of teenagers had virtually no physical activity while in the adult category nearly 50% were found to have no regular exercise pattern resulting in high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and record-high suicide rates. The report also found that even when Australians were drinking less overall, the culture of binge-drinking was influencing young people to consume alcohol in excessive amount.
Over 50 public health organizations who are signatories to the report have set targets to be achieved by 2025 for individually listed health factors – 25 percent reduction in country-wide mortality rates from common cancers, diabetes and cardio-vascular diseases.