Health and Human Development - Environmental and inherited factors
affecting development and health
A nurse feeds a three-year-old girl from El Salvador who is suffering
from malnutrition. The child was brought to a hospital by police after they
found her in need of care. Up to 24% of child deaths in El Salvador are
directly related to malnutrition.
Of the environmental influences that have a lasting affect on development
and health, childhood illnesses and infection, disease and level of
nutrition have the greatest impact. In early adulthood and beyond the state
of health may influence general fitness levels, feeling of well-being and
level of disease in old age.
As was mentioned under socioeconomic status, a family's income also
determines level of education and level of health care. Studies have shown
that life expectancy will increase with higher levels of education and
intelligence levels. Influences such as smoking, alcohol and atmospheric
pollution can affect development and health at all stages of the lifespan.
The prenatal stage, particularly the first trimester, is a critical time
for influences on growth of new tissues. Smoking and alcohol have a
significant influence on health and longevity when consumed at any stage
from adolescence onwards.
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