Human Epidemiological Transition

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Introduction
Problem Statement and Justification of Study
Human populations have faced, over their entire history, changes in their diet. Two other processes have occurred simultaneously with the change in diet habits: one is the demographic transition and the other is the epidemiological transition.
The first human beings were hunter-gatherers. At that time, population growth rate was low and stable. The domestication of plants and animal about 10000 years ago had a crucial impact on the development of the human race. The access to a more abundant and stable source of food has led to an increase in population size and density (Swedlung & Armelagos, 1990).
Even though the diet transition of these early populations meant the improvement of
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Many factors, including economic, social, demographic, biologic and ecological ones, led to the decrease in the occurrence of infectious diseases by novel pathogens. These factors include income increase, expansion of education, improvement of health services, industrialization and urbanization. The disease transition, known as the “second epidemiological transition” was undergone first by developed countries (Uusitalo, et al., 2002). The rate of infectious diseases has decreased the last decades because of development of medical practices and public health measures. During this time period, the burden of mortality has been shifting toward non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart failure, cancer, and diabetes (Harper & Armelagos, 2010). NCDs represent nowadays the leading cause of death in developing and developed countries (Beaglehole & Yach, 2003). NCDs contribute to health inequalities between and within countries, mainly affecting the poorest regions because of the uneven distribution of risk factors (Beaglehole & Yach,…show more content…
This process develops in two steps: 1. “Expansion effect”, in this stage the main change is the expansion in total calories intake. With additional calories coming mainly from cheap food from vegetable origin. 2. “Substitution effect”, the total energy intake remains unchanged but the structure of the diet changes (Kearney, 2010). An increase in the consumption of calories from animal sources (meat and dairy products) and a substitution of food rich in carbohydrates (like cereals, roots, tubers, fruit, and vegetables) to vegetable oils and sugar can be observed (Bermudez & Tucker,
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