The changing world
There are three main global trends that affect health: economic trends, population trends and social trends.
Under economic trends the report examines the growth of the economy during three periods: 1950-1973, an age of unparalled prosperity; 1973-1993, when most of the world economy operated below its potential; and the period since 1993, when economic recovery began. Next, an account is given of increasing inequalities and the global burden of debt. Finally, sectoral changes and emerging opportunities are analysed.
The issues explored under population trends are: population size and growth; international migration and refugees; age composition and dependency ratios; and fertility - with a discussion of contraceptive prevalence, adolescent fertility, and infertility.
Under social trends, urbanization is first examined - about 45% of the world's population now live in urban areas. Environment and housing have a major impact on health and are next examined. Housing is of central importance to quality of life, and the question of housing poverty is discussed. In almost all countries there are people who suffer from hunger and malnutrition, and food and nutrition - including food security, urban agriculture, and nutritional status - are the next subjects explored. Education also obviously has a direct impact on health, quality of life and employment prospects, and current attempts to increase the number of school enrolments of both boys and girls are highlighted in the report. Finally the interrelated problems of unemployment (including youth unemployment and the need for educated labour) and poverty (including the need to implement poverty programmes) are carefully examined.