7 billion reasons to think about 7 billion

I find it appropriate to cut the red tape on my new blog with something so relevant to every single person on this planet: population.

I found a cool iPad app called 7 billion offered by National Geographic that gives an in-depth look at the recently-achieved population size of 7 billion. And the first page of this application shows a great overview in lay terms on where we were, where we are, and where we are going.
Perhaps an even more interesting and worrisome issue is something that I learned in one of my classes in graduate school. The fathers and mothers of a 13 billion population are alive today. WOWZERS!

Before learning more about population dynamics, I could have said: So what?! I’ll attempt to explain what I see as the big “so whats” as related to public health, although the potential issues arising with an ever-growing population span across domains and sciences, from economics to health and medicine.

 

  1. A growing population means a growing need for nutrition. Did you know that almost 1 billion (thats 1 out of the 7) people already do not have enough to eat? (wfp.org).
  2. More people means the need for more resources.
  3. Do we have the infrastructure? Access to clean water, adequate health care, health education and even family planning.
  4. Why is space not an issue? Urbanization. This goes back to infrastructure. Remember the earthquake in Port au Prince? When you think of urbanization in the US or Germany, you think skyscrapers, nice apartment buildings and underground parking lots. But urbanization in developing and under-developed countries could not be farther from this. This is made obvious each time a natural disaster happens in those type of areas.

 

As you may have noticed, all of my points above are closely related to developing and under-developed nations. So then you may ask: why should we care? Aside from simply caring for our fellow man and the love for humanity, perhaps the most important reason why we should care is because it impacts all of us. With increasing global travel and ever-shortening travel times, more people are traveling in and out of countries. What does that mean? An easier route for infectious diseases to disseminate across the globe. After the Port au Prince earthquake, experts mentioned possibilities of increased cholera and other diarrheal-disease outbreaks.

 

Those are my thoughts. What are yours?

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