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Lancet. 2008 Nov 8;372(9650):1677-83. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(08)61692-X.

Global health equity and climate stabilisation: a common agenda.

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  • 1Commission on Social Determinants of Health, International Institute for Society and Health, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK.


Although health has improved for many people, the extent of health inequities between and within countries is growing. Meanwhile, humankind is disrupting the global climate and other life-supporting environmental systems, thereby creating serious risks for health and wellbeing, especially in vulnerable populations but ultimately for everybody. Underlying determinants of health inequity and environmental change overlap substantially; they are signs of an economic system predicated on asymmetric growth and competition, shaped by market forces that mostly disregard health and environmental consequences rather than by values of fairness and support. A shift is needed in priorities in economic development towards healthy forms of urbanisation, more efficient and renewable energy sources, and a sustainable and fairer food system. Global interconnectedness and interdependence enable the social and environmental determinants of health to be addressed in ways that will increase health equity, reduce poverty, and build societies that live within environmental limits.

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