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Environments and human health

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Simon Richard White.

Airs, Waters, Places, written by Hippocrates in the fifth century BC, was one of the earliest texts on the influence of the environment on health. The health effects of industrialisation in the 19th century prompted considerable concern in many countries about the effects of different types of environments on human health and disease, often leading to legislation to regulate environmental exposures to protect the population. Scholarly and policy Interest in healthy or unhealthy environments waned following the clear success of major interventions such as clean water and air, the epidemiological transition to chronic diseases, and an associated focus on individual health damaging behaviours. However in the last couple of decades environmental influences on mental and physical health and health behaviours have come back onto research and political agendas (most recently in the shape of ‘choice architecture’). This presentation will cover what human beings need in order to live a healthy life, and how various features of the environment might help and hinder the meeting of these needs. It will describe recent empirical and theoretical developments and challenges in the study of environments and health, and how these might relate to policy.

This talk is part of the Bradford Hill seminars at the Cambridge Institute of Public Health series.

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