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U.N. Report Calls For Investment In Health, Education As World Population Approaches 7 Billion

“Instead of worrying about sheer numbers when the world’s population hits seven billion next week, we should think about how to make the planet a better place for people to live in, the United Nations said” in its report, “The State of World Population 2011,” released Wednesday, Reuters reports (Ormsby, 10/26). “The world must seize the opportunity to invest in the health and education of its youth to reap the full benefits of future economic development or else face a continuation of the sorry state of disparities in which hundreds of millions of people in developing nations lack the most basic ingredients for a decent life, U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin said in the foreword of the study,” the U.N. News Centre writes.

Climate Change, Environmental Destruction Threaten Improvements Among World’s Poorest, UNDP Report Warns

“Unchecked environmental destruction will halt — or even reverse — the huge improvements seen in the living conditions of the world’s poorest people in recent decades,” the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) warns in its 2011 Human Development report, which was released on Wednesday, the Guardian reports (Carrington, 11/2). “[T]he annual report, titled ‘Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All,’ said that environmental sustainability can be ‘fairly’ reached if disparities in health, education, income and gender are addressed,” Xinhua writes (11/2). VOA News adds, “It says inaction on climate change and habitat destruction is jeopardizing health and the pursuit of higher income in developing countries” (Schlein, 11/2.)

Obesity Affecting Wealthy, Middle Classes More Than Poor In Developing Countries, Study Says

“‘First world’ health problems such as obesity and heart disease may be gaining ground in developing nations, but they are mostly afflicting the rich and middle class while poor people remain undernourished and underweight,” according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Reuters reports. “Researchers who looked at more than 500,000 women from 37 mid- and low-income nations in Asia, Africa and South America found that there was a clear divide between the better-off and the poor,” Reuters states, adding, “Across countries, the wealthier the women were, the higher their average [body mass index (BMI)], a pattern that held steady over time.” The news service notes, “The pattern is different from that seen in wealthy nations, such as the United States, where lower incomes and less education often correlate with higher weight” (Norton, 11/3).

Health Of Millions Of Children In East Asia, Pacific At Risk Due To Climate Change, UNICEF Report Says

“Climate change is expected to worsen the plight of millions of children in East Asia and the Pacific who already lack food and clean water and are vulnerable to disease, … UNICEF said Monday … in its report (.pdf) ‘Children’s vulnerabilities to climate change and disaster impacts in East Asia and the Pacific,'” AlertNet reports. “‘Higher temperatures have been linked to increased rates of malnutrition, cholera, diarrheal disease and vector-borne diseases like dengue and malaria,’ putting children at far greater risk of contracting these diseases and succumbing to their complications, the report said,” the news service writes.

UNICEF Report Says More Than 30M Children In East Asia, Pacific Lack Essential Services

“More than 30 million children in seven countries in East Asia and the Pacific are deprived of at least one essential service such as basic health care, safe drinking water or access to education, according to a United Nations study (.pdf),” AlertNet reports. According to UNICEF’s “Child Poverty in East Asia and the Pacific: Deprivations and Disparities” report, “more than 13 million of the 93 million children in Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vanuatu and Vietnam suffer from two or more such deprivations.”

Editorials Address China’s Response To Emergence Of H7N9 Bird Flu Strain

The following is a summary of editorials addressing China’s response to the emergence of a new strain of bird flu, H7N9. Bloomberg Businessweek: “The H7N9 strain contains gene sequences that make it relatively effective, for a bird virus, at infecting humans and other mammals,” Bloomberg writes. However, “[t]his is no reason to…

Number Of H7N9 Cases Surpasses 100; U.S. CDC Warns Physicians To Be Vigilant

“The number of bird flu cases in China jumped Sunday to 102, including 20 deaths, the World Health Organization announced,” CNN reports, noting 70 patients remain hospitalized with the new H7N9 avian flu strain and the “WHO said there is still no evidence of human-to-human transmission” (Gray/Armstrong, 4/22). “‘Until the…

U.S. Would Consider Request From North Korea For Food Aid, Envoy Says

“The United States would consider any new request from North Korea to resume food aid stalled since 2009, provided Pyongyang allowed U.S. staff inside the isolated country to monitor distribution,” Agence France-Presse reports. “Our policy in providing humanitarian assistance is based on conditions of need. … If there were a…

WHO Research Team Still Unsure Of H7N9 Transmission Routes

The WHO “has only a limited understanding of a deadly new form of avian flu that has killed 20 people and infected more than a hundred others, a team of researchers said on Monday, leaving unclear how the disease spreads and how virulent it could become,” the Wall Street Journal…