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ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH Our health is determined by much more than genetic make-up or lifestyle decisions.

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Presentation on theme: "ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH Our health is determined by much more than genetic make-up or lifestyle decisions."— Presentation transcript:

1 ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH Our health is determined by much more than genetic make-up or lifestyle decisions.

2 What is Environmental Health Environmental health comprises those aspects of human health, including quality of life determined by physical, chemical, biological, social and psychosocial factors in the environment. It also refers to the theory and practice of assessing, correcting, controlling and preventing those factors in the environment that can potentially affect adversely the health of present and future generations. Environmental health services are those services which promote the improvement of environmental parameters and encourage the use of environmentally friendly and healthy technologies and behaviours. They also have a leading role in developing and suggesting new policy areas.

3 The Physical Environment Let us look at some factors that affect quality of life.

4 Air Quality Air Quality Index: Smog Pollutants and Their Impacts* 0–15 Very good No health effects are expected Sensitive populations may in healthy people want to exercise caution 16–31 Good No health effects are expected Sensitive populations may in healthy people want to exercise caution 32–49 Moderate Respiratory irritation in sensitive People with respiratory disease people during vigorous exercise; at some risk people with heart/lung disorders at some risk; damages very sensitive plants 50–99 Poor Sensitive people may experience People with respiratory disease irritation when breathing and should limit prolonged exertion; possible lung damage when general population at some risk physically active; people withheart/lung disorders at greater risk; damages some plants 100 Very poor Serious respiratory effects, even Serious respiratory effects even and during light physical activity; during light physical activity; over people with heart/lung disorders at people with heart disease, the high risk; more vegetation damage elderly and children at high risk; increased risk for general population Is Ontario's air quality getting better or worse? Ontario's air quality has improved steadily since We have good air quality approximately 90 per cent of the time. What is smog? Smog is a general term used to describe a mixture of air pollutants, dominated by ground-level ozone and fine particulate matter. Where does smog come from? The contaminants that create smog are released during the combustion of fossil fuels in our vehicles, power plants, factory boilers and homes. They are also released by industrial processes, the evaporation of liquid fuels and the use of solvents and other volatile products such as oil-based paints. Most of Ontario's smog problems are caused by a combination of local emissions and pollutants carried by the wind from pollution sources in the United States. More than half of our smog problem comes from south of the border.

5 Water Quality A Fresh Outlook on Water Ontario borders on four of the five Great Lakes and we have more than a quarter of a million lakes, rivers and streams and rich groundwater resources – not to mention a multitude of plants and animals that necessarily thrive in such lush surroundings. This natural wealth is a blessing. Its the basis for our prosperity, our growth and our quality of life. But with great wealth, comes great responsibility. All of us in Ontario have a role to play in protecting our fresh water. Our lives depend upon it as much as the air we breathe and the soil we till. MILTON: Our municipality is serviced by the following drinking water systems: CAMPBELLVILLE WELL SUPPLY CAMPBELLVILLE WELL SUPPLY MILTON WELL SUPPLY INDEPTH: INSIDE WALKERTON Walkerton report highlights CBC News Online | January 2002 The most serious case of water contamination in Canadian history could have been prevented by proper chlorination of drinking water, according to a judicial inquiry report about Walkerton, Ontario's fatal E. coli outbreak. Seven people died and 2,300 became ill after Walkerton's water supply became contaminated with manure spread on a farm near the town, the report concludes. The Clean Water Act The Clean Water Act is part of the Ontario 's government's commitment to implement all of the recommendations of the Walkerton Inquiry. For the first time, communities will be required to create and carry out a plan to protect the sources of their municipal drinking water suppliesClean Water Act

6 The Natural Water Cycle From Nature to our Homes

7 Healthy Work Environments The three elements of a comprehensive approach to a healthy work environment are the following: 1. Occupational Health and Safety – for the physical work environment 2. Organizational Wellness – creating a healthy workplace culture 3. Workplace Health Promotion – making the healthy choice the easy choice Healthy work environments… share an understanding that a healthy work environment not only benefits employees through improved health and wellness but also benefits customers, shareholders and communities take a comprehensive approach to promoting health and wellness encourage workers to take responsibility for their own health, safety and wellness and contribute to creating a healthy work environment create environments that make the healthy choice the easy choice provide information and resources to assist their workers to make healthy lifestyle choices and to achieve and maintain good health promote work-life balance and make work a healthy life experience create a healthy physical, social and psychological work environment as a core business goal

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9 Social Determinants of Health As early as 1948, the World Health Organization (WHO) defined health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well being. By 2000 the WHO had further broadened their definition of health to be a state of complete physical, social and mental well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Health is a resource for everyday life, not the object of living. It is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources as well as physical capabilities.

10 Canada versus Sweden Canadian Health Stats Sweden Health Stats Statistics Total population 32,577,000 Gross national income per capita (PPP international $) 36,280 Life expectancy at birth m/f (years) 78/83 Healthy life expectancy at birth m/f (years, 2003) 70/74 Probability of dying under five (per live births) 6 Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years m/f (per population) 89/55 Total expenditure on health per capita (Intl $, 2006) 3,672 Total expenditure on health as % of GDP (2006) 10.0 Statistics Total population 9,078,000 Gross national income per capita (PPP international $) 34,310 Life expectancy at birth m/f (years) 79/83 Healthy life expectancy at birth m/f (years, 2003) 72/75 Probability of dying under five (per live births) 4 Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years m/f (per population) 78/49 Total expenditure on health per capita (Intl $, 2006) 3,119 Total expenditure on health as % of GDP (2006) 8.9

11 The Affects Income and Social Status Statistically Speaking Health status improves at each step up the income and social hierarchy. High income determines living conditions such as safe housing and ability to buy sufficient good food. The healthiest populations are those in societies which are prosperous and have an equitable distribution of wealth Why are higher income and social status associated with better health? If it were just a matter of the poorest and lowest status groups having poor health, the explanation could be things like poor living conditions. But the effect occurs all across the socio-economic spectrum. Considerable research indicates that the degree of control people have over life circumstances, especially stressful situations, and their discretion to act are the key influences. Higher income and status generally results in more control and discretion Only 47% of Canadians in the lowest income bracket rate their health as very good or excellent, compared with 73% of Canadians in the highest income group. Low-income Canadians are more likely to die earlier and to suffer more illnesses than Canadians with higher incomes, regardless of age, sex, race and place of residence. At each rung up the income ladder, Canadians have less sickness, longer life expectancies and improved health. Studies suggest that the distribution of income in a given society may be a more important determinant of health than the total amount of income earned by society members. Large gaps in income distribution lead to increases in social problems and poorer health among the population as a whole.

12 Social Status Is Also Linked To Health. A major British study of civil service employees found that, for most major categories of disease (cancer, coronary heart disease, stroke, etc.), health increased with job rank. This was true even when risk factors such as smoking, which are known to vary with social class, were taken into account. All the people in the study worked in desk jobs, and all had a good standard of living and job security, so this was not an effect that could be explained by physical risk, poverty or material deprivation. Health increased at each step up the job hierarchy. For example, those one step down from the top (doctors, lawyers, etc.) had heart disease rates four times higher than those at the top (those at levels comparable to deputy ministers). So we must conclude that something related to higher income, social position and hierarchy provides a buffer or defence against disease, or that something about lower income and status undermines defences.

13 Knowledge is Power! Become aware of how your environment affects your health; Put an end to other negative lifestyle practices Increasing your knowledge of diseases and health conditions, and in certain cases, on the steps you can take to help prevent them; In life, we encounter certain risks that can have an impact on our health.


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