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Human health, food and environment CENV 110 A return to health • Food is good for health – Well nourished people live longer, grow larger and presumably are happier An American family with their weekly food Two central American families with their weekly food But there is such a thing as too much Conrad Tolby, 54, is a long-distance truck driver and ex-biker. After two heart attacks, both of them in the cab of his truck, and a divorce back in Mississippi, Conrad now travels with his best friend and constant companion, a 5-year-old Sharpei dog named Imperial Fancy Pants, who gets his own McDonald’s burger and splits the fries with Conrad. Estimated calories pictured: 5,400. Rick Bumgardener, 54, from Halls, Tenn., uses a wheelchair to leave the house and suffers from back problems and Type 2 diabetes. He is trying to lose weight and now eats a restricted diet of a 12-grain bagel, turkey sausage, whole-wheat pasta, steamed vegetables, baked chicken and lots of snacks. Estimated calories pictured: 1,600. Not everyone shares in the bounty Food Scarcity Noolkisaruni Tarakuai, 38, is the third of four wives of a Maasai chief in Narok, Kenya. Her diet for the day includes meager rations of cornmeal porridge, bananas and black tea with whole milk and sugar. Estimated calories pictured: 800 . Alamin Hasan, 12, a porter at the Kamalapur Railway Station in Dhaka, Bangladesh, sits with his day's worth of food, which includes vegetable curries, white rice, a roll, tea and five cigarettes. Estimated calories pictured: 1,400. Sitarani Tyaagi, a 70-year-old ascetic Hindu priest, is shown here with his typical day’s worth of food at an ashram in Ujjain, India. Weighing only 103 pounds, he generally eats only a plateful of food per day and has water for the other two meals. Estimated calories pictured: 1,000. But food production can be bad for health • • • • • Moving from hunter gatherer to farmer Disease transmission Disease development Farming accidents Pesticides/herbicides Global Transformations as part of food production • 40% of ice-free surface area to food production • We use ½ of accessible surface freshwater • Loss of 7-11 million km2 of forest • Development of ocean fisheries • Regulating freshwater through 45,000 large dams • Invasive species and pollution affecting existing biota Major issues • increasing exposure to infectious disease • water scarcity, • food scarcity, Increasing Exposure to Infectious Disease • Biophysical conditions of habitats that can affect the density or presence of diseaserelated organisms; • exposure pathways, the way organisms (including humans) interact with each other; • the genetics of pathogens; • the life cycles of pathogens and vectors • Species composition within a community of organisms Biophysical conditions of habitats that can affect the density or presence of diseaserelated organisms • Deforestation or irrigation projects improve breeding habitat and survival of certain anopheline mosquitoes that transmit malaria in Africa, Latin America, and Asia Distribution of malaria Factors influencing malaria • The ecological distribution of the host mosquitoes • Mosquito control efforts • Infrastructure to prevent infection: mosquito nets, elimination of mosquito breeding • Infrastructure to treat infected people and reduce the probability a mosquito will pick up the parasites Changes in exposure pathways • Incursions into wildlife habitat can lead to new exposure to zoonotic disease as seen in Ebola, simian retroviruses, and, probably, human immunodeficiency syndrome Ebola Transmission Changes in the environment in which organisms live create genetic alterations, which can increase disease transmission • Livestock management relying on extensive use of antibiotics in concentrated animal feeding operations leads to the emergence of pathogens resistant to numerous antibiotics. Diseases from livestock Development of antibiotic resistant bacteria Agricultural chemicals and human health The World Health Organization estimates that there are 3 million cases of pesticide poisoning each year and up to 220,000 deaths, primarily in developing countries. Water Scarcity • Demands for irrigation can compete with domestic supply Industrialization, food production and human health • Industrialization is closely tied to increased food production – Fertilizer and the Haber Bosch process – Production of other farm chemicals – Production of farm machinery Industrialization is a mixed blessing • Industrialization can bring health infrastructure such as clean water • Richer people tend to live longer • But there are downsides to health – Higher densities of people – Various forms of pollution London 1900 Killer smog New York Air pollution China Summary • Food is essential and up to a limit more food is good for health • But food production has health costs • The question is can we maintain the food production while reducing those costs Study guide • • • • • • • • • • • How can too much food be bad for your health? Name 5 countries where over 30% of the population is undernourished. Name 4 occupations that have a higher fatal injury rate than farming Name 2 ways clearing land for farming increase diseases. How will climate change make parts of the U.S. potential malarial areas? Name 3 methods that can reduce the incidence of malaria in places it is now common? What is the key linkage between food and Ebola? How does livestock production foster new diseases? Why do some farmers routinely supply antibiotics to animals that are not sick? How has industrialization benefited human health? How has industrialization harmed human health?