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This book takes a global view of public health in discussing the contribution that environment, poverty, and lifestyle make to the health, disease, and disability of contrasting populations around the world.
The book opens with a discussion of human biology in a very broad sense: we evolved in a natural environment, subject to natural selection, and now live in a 'human zoo', subject to very different pressures. The human zoo offers people many benefits, but also incurs many costs in terms of human health and happiness, as illustrated by a review of some key global health statistics on mortality and morbidity, for example in relation to obesity, infectious disease, depression, and traffic accidents.
The second half of the book is a case study of a scarce resource which is vital for human well-being: clean water. It considers the global water cycle, its distribution and use, and the impact of climate change on freshwater resources. The contamination of water by infectious organisms leads to a discussion of cholera and the health burden of diarrhoeal diseases, particularly among young children. The chemical pollution of water by DDT, mercury, nitrogen-based fertilisers, and endocrine disrupters are described in the context of their effects on health.
Water and Health in an Overcrowded World is accompanied by a fully interactive DVD, featuring a combination of animations, photos, and molecular models. The DVD covers the evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacteria, and the basic chemistry of water, nitrates, and oestrogen mimics.