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Response to "Malnutrition and dietary protein: Evidence from China and from international comparisons".
Food and Nutrition Bulletin. 2003; 24(3):291-295.The opportunity to comment on the paper by Jamison and his colleagues  is most welcome. My perspective, and biases, on the issues they discuss are based largely on work in pediatrics and community health in Turkey, Colombia, and Thailand during a period of 17 years. In addition, I was privileged to visit China in 1973 as a member of the Early Childhood Development Delegation, one of the earliest US delegations to visit China, when I was able to pay particular attention to growth in children under five years of age [2-4]. Nutrition, growth, and mortality in young children have been major concerns throughout my career. Dr. Jamison has studied health issues having to do with China for many years, and this is an interesting contribution. There is no need here to repeat the study design, but the three populations from which data were used for the study, must be mentioned. They include: Data from a sample of urban adults, aged 18 to 25 years, from 13 provinces of China, in 1979: information on average heights and weights for men and women and on average income and availability of energy and protein; Data from a sample of adult men and women from 64 rural counties: information on heights and weights plus data on income, energy availability, and protein share from 26 provinces, around 1983; Data from 41 populations of men and 33 populations of women in 40 and 32 countries, respectively: information on average heights, as well as income, energy, protein share, and ethnic group, around 1960. (excerpt)
Population and the environment: a cross-country exploration of deforestation in low income countries.
[Unpublished] .  p.In this paper we explore linkages between population growth and environmental degradation in low income countries, focussing on deforestation. The analysis is primarily based upon country-level data from 85 developing countries with 1990 populations of over one million, and is considered quite preliminary. At the outset it is important to acknowledge three major difficulties in examining these interrelations. First, the available data are suspect. We have used what appears to be the most comparable available data from various UN agencies and the World Resources Institute; however, environmental data are particularly weak for much of the developing world. In some of the developing countries, population and agricultural censuses--the major sources for cross-country data--are not regularly taken. Furthermore, rural populations are sometimes not separately reported by countries which do have a census. (excerpt)
In: Learning to listen to the land, edited by Bill Willers. Washington, D.C., Island Press, 1991. 177-82.The US is the most overpopulated nation on earth. The numbers of people and their activities rapidly destroy the ability of the land to sustain life. Even though India's population is almost 2.5 times larger than that of the US, Indians contribute much less to land destruction than do US citizens. To operate an air conditioner in the US, we strip-mine land in Kentucky, deposit the dirt and slate into a stream, and burn coal in a generator, causing a plume of smoke which seeds clouds resulting in early rain, rain which should be falling on farms in Minnesota. One American pollutes 3 million gallons of water; industry and agriculture use an additional 30 million gallons of water for each American. The US Army Corps of Engineers constructs dams and floods farmland, perpetuating unchecked water use. US activities constantly drain the productivity of the land. An Indian equivalent is the average number of Indians needed to make the same detrimental effect on the land's ability to sustain life as would the average American (anywhere from 25-500). Thus, the US population in Indian equivalents is at least 4 billion. Per capita gross national product of India is 38 times lower than that of the US. The US economy is based on a belief of continued growth in population and productivity, but the world is finite. Civilization is like a living organism in that its longevity is a function of its metabolism (i.e., the higher the metabolic rate, the shorter the life), so this affluence-creating economic system causes a short life span. A predicted famine will kill millions in India and in the US, but the land in India will survive, while the concrete, strip-mined landscape and silt-choked reservoirs in the US will not allow the polluted land to survive. To prevent destruction of US land, we must stop destroying land and reverse population growth. Desired family size in the US is still high (3.3).
In: Elephants in the Volkswagen: facing the tough questions about our overcrowded country, [by] Lindsey Grant. New York, New York, W.H. Freeman, 1992. 18-31.Current agricultural practices reduce our agriculture base. In fact, we have reduced soil productivity by 50% in our most productive agricultural regions. We are depleting petroleum sources. Other fossil fuels are also limited. Fossil fuel use, soil erosion (8 tons of soil loss/acre/year), and misuse of other resources are jeopardizing the carrying capacity of our ecosystem. The present US growth rate is 0.8%/year. If immigration increases, the rate will increase. As the population grows, we will diminish our natural resources as is the case in China (relative same land size with a population of 1.1 billion compared to 252 million for the US). Further, the US produces and consumes about 50 times more goods and services per capita than does China. China has almost reached the carrying capacity of its agricultural system. The US does not have new arable land to support its growing population. 85% of US total water use is dedicated to agriculture. The rapid rise in water use in stressing surface and ground water resources (e.g., ground water overdraft is 25% greater than replenishment rate). Pollution, through toxic chemicals affects our air, land, and water. The aforementioned conditions highlight the need for the US to convert from use of finite supplies of fossil fuels to the use of solar energy. In 1850, biomass wood and solar power supplied 91% of our energy needs, while they supply only 3%. Fossil fuel provides 92% of our needs. Currently, US consumption of energy resources does not balance with supplies. Improved agricultural technology and a return to crop rotation would save both fossil fuels and water. Specifically, this would curb soil erosion, conserve fertile land, reduce water requirements for irrigation, and decrease pesticide and fertilizer use. Solar energy could sustain a US population of 40-100 million. if the population would practice sound energy conservation and implement sound environmental policies, this size would maintain a quality environment and a high standard of living.
[Washington, D.C.], National Audubon Society, 1992. 166 p.16 case studies of wildlife sanctuaries experiencing population pressure are examined as examples of 3 coastal systems, 2 major rivers, and 3 freshwater wetlands. There are 8 paired cases from the US (North Dakota, Nebraska, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and South Carolina) and developing countries (Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Thailand, and Indonesia). The project became known as the "Sharing the Earth Project." In most cases the US suffered greater natural resource degradation even though all the developing countries were economically poorer. Each case is unique. The common ground is that the environment is threatened by the effects of human activity; the message is to redirect activity. The lessons learned in trying to save the Platte River in Nebraska are applicable to river habitats in India, Nepal, Pakistan, and other places. The issues are ethics and economics, population growth and resource use, and water and wildlife. The action agenda is 1) to educate governments and private citizens about the interconnections between population and the environment and establish "global-to-local" programs; 2) to increase the level of public awareness about the value of preserving the environment for the present and future; 3) to increase assistance and research for family planning and international population programs which also means improving the education and status of women; 4) to conserve natural resources by protecting wildlife, reducing consumption, and saving water and wetlands; and 5) to be part of the process of establishing national and international world economic policies that are sustainable. People can make a difference. The 2 types of overpopulation are the numbers of people and the consumption of resources by people.
Social Science and Medicine. 1992 Apr; 34(8):837-42.Researchers analyzed data from 117 countries taken from 2 1988 World Bank publications to determine the relative importance of health care resources in predicting infant mortality within developed, developing and underdeveloped countries. Overall the variance of infant mortality, accounted by only socioeconomic resources, was 32.8% in underdeveloped (p<.01), 34.3% in developing countries (p<.05), and 60.6% in developed countries (p<.1). Further almost all these variables had constant directions of relationship with infant mortality across the 3 subgroups. For example, GNP and education were always negatively associated with infant mortality and urbanization and water were always positively associated with infant mortality. In fact, water had the greatest effect in developing countries and the smallest in underdeveloped countries. Further education was the only statistically significant socioeconomic variable in underdeveloped and developing countries (p<.05). Energy was inversely related with infant mortality in underdeveloped and developing countries, but positively related with it in industrialized countries. Further calorie had an inverse relationship with infant mortality in underdeveloped countries, but a positive relationship in developing and developed countries. In terms of health resources, the variance of infant mortality was not significant and was only an additional 8.6% of that above the variance explained by socioeconomic resources in underdeveloped countries, 5.6% in developing countries, and 3.3% in industrialized countries. Yet the association between inhabitants/ physician was consistent across all subgroups. Further the physician's role in reducing infant mortality was greatest in developing countries. The other 2 health care variables were inhabitants/nurse and inhabitants/hospital bed. In addition, as life expectancy increased, the effects of health care resources on infant mortality fell.
[Unpublished] .  p.This worldwide review of smoking trends and of efforts to reduce smoking is based on information obtained from American embassy officials, government officials of specific countries, and published sources. It was prepared by the Office on Smoking and Health of the US Public Health Service for presentation at the 4th World Conference on Smoking and Health, convened in Stockholm in 1979. This review updates the information which was included in a similar review conducted in 1973. A brief regional summary of smoking trends and a more detailed summary of smoking trends in each of 36 countries is provided. The country summaries contain information, whenever available, on smoking trends, antismoking efforts, tobacco production, nicotine and tar levels, and smoking and cigarette advertising restrictions. In many developed countries, antismoking campaigns and the imposition of restrictions on smoking in public places and on tobacco advertising has led to a decline in smoking, even among teenagers. In most countries the decline among males was sharper than among females. The Scandinavian countries, in particular, waged intensive antismoking campaigns, and their efforts have had a marked impact on the public's smoking habits. In Sweden the goal is to create a smoke free environment within 25 years, and an intensive effort is being made to educate the country's youth about the negative consequences of smoking. As a result of these efforts, the percent of 16 years old Swedes who smoke declined between 1971-77 from 41%-25% among boys and from 47%-40% among girls. In the European region, the proportion of males who smoke is declining; however, more than 1/2 of the male population continues to smoke and smoking is increasing among teenagers and women in several European countries. In Asia as a whole, 40% of the male population smokes, and in some countries, e.g., Japan and the Philippines, the proportion of males who smoke reaches 70%. The Chinese are probably the heaviest smokers in the world. China is also the world's largest producer of cigarettes. In 1977, the Chinese manufactured 775 billion cigarettes while the US, the 2nd largest producer of cigarettes, produced 666 billion. In Africa, data on smoking is scarce. Available information suggest that the proportion of smokers in the population is probably similar to that in more developed regions of the world, but that per capita comsumption is much lower in Africa than in other areas simply because people cannot afford to purchase many cigarettes. As income in these countries increases, smoking will probably increase. Most African countries have made no effort to combat smoking. In Latin America as a whole, 18% of the female population and 45% of the male population smokes. In these countries smoking is more common among blue collar workers and less educated individuals than among other occupational groups and among more educated persons.