Professor John Bock
20 December 2014
Response Paper 4 – How have economic development and globalization changed the ecology of human health and disease? In your discussion, include aging, infectious disease, and chronic disease. You should discuss the concept of epidemiological transitions Prehistoric humans had no notion for the differences between a PPO or an HMO benefits package, nor any reason to concern themselves. Similarly, most people today haven’t the slightest idea how to clean a fish. To be fair to both groups, our environment has changed drastically in the interim, as have our collective needs. A growing population has given rise to new solutions, so as to promote efficiency and minimize want,…show more content…
The first epidemiological transition, according to Newman, came with the Neolithic revolution around 6,000 B.C. Populations exploded as agricultural technologies advanced, but the supply of food rarely exceeded the growing need. The widespread effects of resultant malnutrition “are most readily observable in the altered growth and maturation rates of the children surviving dietary crises, their disease susceptibilities, and in the vitality of the adults. […] Another consequence of chronic undernutrition is reduced resistance to [infectious] disease” (Newman, 62). This can be seen in civilizations overly reliant on maize, such as depression-era Southerners in the United States (Bock, 14). Maize comes up short in amino acid content, which in this case led to a condition called pellagra, a niacin deficiency characterized by diarrhea, dermatitis, and dementia. Unfortunately, malnutrition has not subsided with the passing of time, and industrialized agriculture has supplanted infectious disease with its chronic counterpart, at an alarming rate of morbidity.
A large contributor to this most recent epidemiological transition is the old guard of food conglomerates like corn and milk. An informal investigation of the packaged food in the local supermarket will confirm this assertion. Corn, in one form or another, is contained in almost every iteration of “junk food” distributed around the world. From snack