Archive for the ‘demographic transition’ Category

By Hannah Vanbenschoten

For Sara Stulac, a pediatric doctor from Rwanda, treating a young girl with a tumor the size of a cauliflower on her face was not what she expected her first experience with a patient to look like. In 2005, when the young girl came to Dr. Stulac, it was clear an oncologist was needed; unfortunately, Rwanda did not have one. The girl’s father had tried traditional healing remedies and local doctors, but the tumor grew to the point where Dr. Stulac needed to recruit satellite help from an American oncologist in order to save the girl’s life. (more…)

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By Jacob Mcilvaine

Recently I saw a video by Swedish doctor and statistician Hans Rosling about human population growth.  It peaked my interest because I remember there being a lot of discussion in the news about the human population growing out of control when we reached 7 billion people back in 2012.  Many pundits on television were talking about the day when the Earth would not be able to sustain our population and that we needed to start enforcing population control measures, extremists to say the least. I remember wondering if the population would ever stop growing. While our population is still growing it is not out of control, as those pundits thought. In fact, the rate at which the human species has been growing is slowing down.

The enormous growth of the human population in the 20th century is the most significant development in the past one million years.  No other event, geological or biological, has posed a threat to earthly life comparable to that of human overpopulation.  However, the human population growth rate peaked in the early 1970s at 2.2% and has been decreasing ever since.  The growth rate is simply the difference between the birth rate and the death rate.  Birth and death rates are calculated as the number of births or deaths per 1,000 people per year.  The current growth rate of the entire world is about 1.14%.  Although this seems like a small number, if the growth rate does not change, the human population will double in size roughly every 70 years.  That means the human population would reach 14 billion people in 2084 and 28 billion people in 2154.  However, according to Hans Rosling, the human population will reach its peak of 11 billion people by the end of this century.  So why will the population stop growing?

Because the number of children in the world aged 0 to 15 has stopped growing.  There are 2 billion children in the world right now.  If you divide the world up by age spans of 15 years then you have five groups: 0 to 15, 16 to 30, 31 to 45, 46 to 60, and 61 and over.  As of now, the first two groups each contain 2 billion people while the other three only contain 1 billion.  The reason the older three age groups are missing 1 billion people is because they were never born.  As time passes, the younger groups will age and replace the older groups, and 2 billion new children will replace the younger groups.  This will continue until each group contains 2 billion people.  That’s only 10 billion though, where will the last 1 billion come from?  As healthcare advances people will start to live longer, adding an extra 1 billion people to the oldest group. This addition of 4 billion people is called “the big fill up.”

Another factor to consider is the distribution of the human population, and human population growth.  They are not distributed evenly among the six inhabited continents, neither are they distributed evenly among the countries in those continents.  As of now, the human population is distributed as follows: 1 billion people in the Americas, 1 billion people in Europe, 1 billion people in Africa, and 4 billion people in Asia.  Just as the human population is not evenly distributed, neither is the growth rate. For example, many countries in Africa and Asia have growth rates over 2%, while countries in North America and Europe have growth rates under 1%. Some countries in Europe such as Germany and Russia even have negative growth rates, meaning that their populations are decreasing.  Because the growth rates are much higher in African and Asian countries, “the big fill up” will happen entirely in those two continents.  By the end of this century, 9 of the 11 billion people will be living in either Africa or Asia.  Although the human population is still growing, it is not out of control.






Nadakavukaren, A. (2011). Our global environment: A health perspective. Prospect

Heights, IL: Waveland Press, Inc

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By Lyse Barronville                                                                                        

Most developing countries aim for one thing: to be more like the United States and other more industrialized countries.  However, it is easily forgettable that with these industrialized countries also come with their own kinds of problems; reminding us that the grass is not always greener on the other side. A major problem experienced by these countries, especially the United States is the obesity epidemic.  Until fairly recently people did not realize that consuming too much food (and being over-nourished for that matter) is not necessarily better than malnutrition. Currently, developing countries are still dying from what industrialized countries consider “ancient diseases”. Things like tuberculosis and cholera, acute infectious diseases usually associated with extreme poverty, are not diseases people casually worry about in America (besides diseasess such as sexually transmitted diseases, influenza, and other less morbid diseases).   However, we still have many chronic health issues to worry about, many of which are connected to overweight and obesity.  Apparently, as developing countries get richer, they begin to assimilate in the lifestyles of industrialized countries.  This would normally be a great thing, but the problem is that these countries now have to deal with obesity and other similar health issues even though they have not gotten rid of “ancient diseases” yet (more…)

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By Nina Roth 

The United States has made great strides in tobacco prevention, but does this hold true for the rest of the world? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Tobacco kills around 6million people worldwide every year, and that number is projected to increase.1 Due to the shrinking demand for tobacco products in the United States over the last few decades, big tobacco companies have had to look elsewhere for profits. Conveniently, tobacco companies have found emerging markets in many developing, highly populous countries in Asia. Research on tobacco trends has concluded that over the next twenty years 70 percent of tobacco related deaths will be in these less developed countries.2 This is in part due to less stringent tobacco laws and governmental regulations, lack of education and awareness, and heavy advertising from tobacco companies.

So, why should we care? Let me introduce the case of Indonesia. (more…)

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by Angelina Telatovich

My mother will never let me live down the time I told my nursery teacher I was quitting breastfeeding. We had moved to East Malaysia when I was only a couple of months old, and while my brothers were weaned much earlier than me, my mother felt that it was important for my health in such a foreign environment. At the time, Malaysia was seeing a dramatic increase in infant mortality rates due to gastrointestinal illnesses. Recently introduced satellite TV portrayed western women feeding their babies bottles of white liquid. As a result, Malaysian women in remote areas began to feed their babies mixtures of river water and sago flour to mimic the color of milk. (more…)

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By Alexandra Desir

In this new age of sexual exploration and desensitization, erectile dysfunction is just another topic that has made its way out of the confines of the doctor’s office and into our living rooms. The average person watching television for an hour is subjected to at least five advertisements for drugs like Viagra and Cialis. I have become so accustomed to constantly being bombard by these commercials that I rarely ever notice them anymore. However, I couldn’t help but take notice of a tweet with the words “Medicare”, “overpaying”, and “erectile dysfunction” all in the same sentence. (more…)

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Just recently the results of the first ever national study on abortion inRwandawere released with data from 2009. The study showed that although the abortion rate in Rwanda is lower than that of the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa, 25 per 1,000 women of reproductive age as opposed to 31 per 1,000, there are still high rates of complications with these procedures and that these women are not receiving the medical care that they so desperately need. (more…)

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