Note: This is the 1997 edition of UNEP's Global Environment Outlook. If you are interested in more recent information, please see the 2000 and 2002 editions.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Global  Environment Outlook-1 - The Web version

Chapter 4: Looking to the Future

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Human Health

This section presents the results of a specific study on the relative importance of environment-related determinants of health and looks at how the state of global health might develop. The results presented here are based on a preliminary version of the health submodel of TARGETS (Niessen et al.,1996). This model is being developed to analyse issues related to sustainable development at a global level (Rotmans and de Vries, forthcoming).

The analysis looks at relative changes in disability-adjusted life expectancies (DALEs) due to environmental pressures and other health-related factors. DALEs are a measure of years lived adjusted for  for each year lived in incomplete health (assessing complete health as 100 per cent).

The information considered in this study has a direct or indirect bearing on human health and welfare (such as literacy rate, educational status, gross national product, and poverty issues including malnourishment and access to safe water). Since the model used for this study cannot differentiate data for the six regions addressed in the rest of this chapter, three countries were selected to illustrate the characteristics of regions at different stages of the health transition: India (see Hutter et al.,1996), Mexico, and the Netherlands.

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