Thursday, August 5, 2010 - 2:40 PM

SYMP 19-4: Sustainable well-being and health

Chiho Watanabe1, Koji Arizono2, and Masahiro Umezaki1. (1) University of Tokyo, (2) Prefectural University of Kumamoto

In most of the discussions on the climate change, we talk more about how we should sustain and less about what we should sustain.  Impact of climate change will appear in vulnerable systems, including some of the ecosystems, and we – humans - are one of such systems.  Health could be regarded as an indicator of the impact, but at the same time, it should be an essential component of sustainable society, and importantly it is something that we can manipulate personally as well as socially.  As such, health is at least one of the targets that we should and are able to sustain in our future.  However, the relationship between well-being and health is not so clear and sometimes they may conflict with each other.  In many rural areas of Asian countries, rapid changes of subsistence activities are proceeding to apparently improve well-being of the people.  In such rapidly changing environment, both/either the health and/or well-being per se could be jeopardized.  Taking some examples from a series of surveys that we have conducted in rural Asian communities, it will be discussed how some rapid changes might improve/compromise the health and well-being of the people via various pathways.  


The rapid transitions experienced in various areas (countries) in Asia brought about broad changes including income, labour, nutrition, and health of the people.  In several instances, initial changes caused by policy implementation resulted in unexpected effects related with health and local environment.  Changes in chemical burden to the people and local communities were remarkable, and different portion of a single community were affected differentially.  Increasing risks for chronic diseases were observed in many communities, and the increase might not be homogenous even within a community.  Understanding the effects of any changes would require not only spatially- oriented analyses but also analyses based on the attributes of the people/population.