The world has goals in different sectors, which include economic, health, transport and communication among others. The international health goals have led to gains in human life expectancy over the years; however, there are still inequalities in health considering that there is still persistence in the differences between the rich and poor.
As the processes of globalization are taking place they bring effects to the health and lifestyle around the world; this is because the processes have an impact on the health and lifestyle determinants. This paper will discuss how globalization affects health and lifestyle.
Health policies are among the determinants of health, both locally and internationally, and this has been realized by those in global governance. World organizations such as the World Bank and the World Health Organization influence the formulation of health related policies, according to these organizations, good health is important for economic development (Huynen, Martens, and Hilderink, 2005).
Therefore, these international organizations support policies that alleviate health in low-income countries, for instance in 1999, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank came up with a policy to reduce poverty in such countries.
The policy has an effect on health and lifestyle of the people; when poverty is alleviated more people eat well balanced meals, which keep away nutrition related diseases. Also, more people seek professional medical health, and this reduces death caused by diseases and conditions that can be corrected.
An organization such as WTO, through its trade policies, it can influence health around the world or vulnerable areas; in 2002, WTO supported the ban on importation of products that contained asbestos (Huynen et al, 2005). Such policies affect health because the citizens in the area are protected from health risks posed by asbestos.
International Economic development also has an effect on health and lifestyle; however, this depends on one’s view about global economic markets. According to optimists, global markets promote economic growth and security, and this, in turn, affects the health of the people.
Optimists believe that globalization reduces the level of inequalities between and within nations; some countries or people within and between nations can be richer through globalization, but the level of absolute poverty between and within them is reduced, which affects health and lifestyle of those living in poverty in a positive way.
Om the other hand, According to pessimists, economic markets exclude other nations from economic growth dynamics, and those excluded may not be successful like others, and this might affect their health and lifestyle.
Global trading system and markets increase trade across the world, and those countries that participate in such trades and markets increase their citizens’ well being as well as access to different products, which are not available in their countries (Huynen et al, 2005). All these improves the health of citizens of these countries and their general well being; the funds from trading globally are used in health care and improving the nutritional value of the foods taken by citizens.
Social interaction globalization is an event that also affects health and lifestyle of the people. There has been much improvement in transport and communication and this increased human migration, and as they migrate, they interact with other people from different walks of lives (WHO, 2002).
Terrorist attacks, which took place in Washington and New York, has led to the speculation that globalization might be a contributor to conflicts. Conflicts affect human health, in a way that they lead to violent activities, which affects nutrition and causes injury to people thus causing poor health.
However, social globalization can reduce tensions and conflicts; different societies interact more and depend on each other. This means that everyone will live in peace with the neighbors across the border and within the country, and any health issues that are caused by conflicts are reduced or completely eliminated. When countries interact globally, they do so under different cultural norms and values, and there is a possibility that they can influence each other and bring about social equity and solidarity, and this affects their lifestyle.
This makes people live in harmony, and encourage them to participate in social activities, as well as civic decisions on material sources and employment. This help improve social health, as well as economic well being of the people within and across nations, and people access good health care and healthy foods without fear of social inequalities, which improves their lifestyle as well. (Woodward, Drager, Beaglehole & Lipson, 2001).
Social interactions across the international networks and global mobility encourage sharing of knowledge which include knowledge on health; it is through this interactions that researchers and medical professionals collect data and use them in managing health situations within and across nations (Huynen et al, 2005).
Globalization of communication, especially internet communication also improves health education and training, which makes sure that it is up to date in terms of emerging diseases, as well as new drugs and treatment; this improves health of the population within and across nations.
However, global interactions can have a negative effect on health; this is done through mobility; infectious diseases can be spread through global interactions, and this affects the health of the people within and across nations. Internet communication affects the lifestyle of people; they communicate more using computers than personal contact.
Globalization brings about changes within and across nations, and these changes bring new opportunities and sometimes new risks, which affect health. Therefore, nations should be careful when engaging in global activities that are related to health; they should only be involved in activities that promote health.
Huynen, M., Martens, P. and Hilderink, H. (2005). The health impacts of globalization: a conceptual framework. Globalization and Health, 1(14), pp. 10-12. Retrieved from http://www.globalizationandhealth.com/content/pdf/1744-8603-1-14.pdf
WHO. (2002). World report on violence and health. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 7(6), pp. 1-36. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/world_report/en/summary _en.pdf.
Woodward, D., Drager, N., Beaglehole, R. & Lipson D. (2001). Globalization and health: a framework for analysis and action. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 79(9), pp. 875-881. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/bulletin/archives/79(9)875.pdf