Globalization and Health

Topics: Medicine, Health economics, Health Pages: 31 (8065 words) Published: June 11, 2013
Globalization and Health

BioMed Central

Open Access

The health impacts of globalisation: a conceptual framework
Maud MTE Huynen*1, Pim Martens1,2,3 and Henk BM Hilderink4
Address: 1International Centre for Integrative Studies (ICIS), Maastricht University, Maasticht, The Netherlands, 2Faculty of Natural Sciences, Open University, Heerlen, The Netherlands, 3Zuyd University, Heerlen, The Netherlands and 4Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (MNP), Bilthoven, the Netherlands Email: Maud MTE Huynen* -; Pim Martens -; Henk BM Hilderink - * Corresponding author

Published: 03 August 2005 Globalization and Health 2005, 1:14 doi:10.1186/1744-8603-1-14

Received: 31 January 2005 Accepted: 03 August 2005

This article is available from: © 2005 Huynen et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

This paper describes a conceptual framework for the health implications of globalisation. The framework is developed by first identifying the main determinants of population health and the main features of the globalisation process. The resulting conceptual model explicitly visualises that globalisation affects the institutional, economic, social-cultural and ecological determinants of population health, and that the globalisation process mainly operates at the contextual level, while influencing health through its more distal and proximal determinants. The developed framework provides valuable insights in how to organise the complexity involved in studying the health effects resulting from globalisation. It could, therefore, give a meaningful contribution to further empirical research by serving as a 'think-model' and provides a basis for the development of future scenarios on health.

Good health for all populations has become an accepted international goal and we can state that there have been broad gains in life expectancy over the past century. But health inequalities between rich and poor persist, while the prospects for future health depend increasingly on the relative new processes of globalisation. In the past globalisation has often been seen as a more or less economic process. Nowadays it is increasingly perceived as a more comprehensive phenomenon, which is shaped by a multitude of factors and events that are reshaping our society rapidly. This paper describes a conceptual framework for the effects of globalisation on population health. The framework has two functions: serving as 'think-model', and providing a basis for the development of future scenarios on health.

Two recent and comprehensive frameworks concerning globalisation and health are the ones developed by Woodward et al. [1], and by Labonte and Togerson [2]. The effects that are identified by Woodward et al. [1] as most critical for health are mainly mediated by economic factors. Labonte and Torgerson [2] primarily focus on the effects of economic globalisation and international governance. In our view, however, the pathways from globalisation to health are more complex. Therefore, a conceptual framework for the health effects of the globalisation process requires a more holistic approach and should be rooted in a broad conception of both population health and globalisation. The presented framework is developed in the following three steps: 1) defining the concept of population health and identifying its main determinants, 2) defining the concept of globalisation and identifying its main features and 3) constructing the

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