This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

World Health Day--Can We Make Ourselves Healthier?

April 7th is annually known as World Health Day by, of course, the World Health Organization, and it comes in the middle of National Public Health Week, as named by the American Public Health Association. Last year the focus was on safe food, as I noted at the time, whereas this year the emphasis is on beating diabetes. The WHO notes, in particular, that the incidence of diabetes is growing most quickly in developing countries. Certainly, our research in Accra, the capital of Ghana, in West Africa, shows that obesity is rising rapidly and with it the risk of diabetes. In our Women's Health Study of Accra in 2008-09, we found that women who were obese (based on BMI measurements) were twice as likely to have been diagnosed with diabetes as those who were not obese. Based on data for the entire country of Ghana from the Demographic and Health Survey in 2008, you can see in the map below that woman of reproductive age are much more likely to be overweight in the urban regions, which are located largely in the southern half of the country. Since Ghana, like most developing nations, is rapidly urbanizing, this is not a healthy trend.

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