Rural System Health
Resources, by most definitions, are for people, so it seems inappropriate to concentrate an entire rural and natural resource-based system on the physical and biological parts of that system and to avoid dealing with the human health aspects of the system. We already approach human aspects as part of the system (socioeconomic, value systems, esthetic, recreation and ecotourism). The vastness as well as the professional specialties are great barriers. Nevertheless, people in the rural areas need to know about healthful diets, exercise, avoiding trauma and if not, emergency treatment. Their remotness and time to travel to trauma and health centers can be life threatening. The new energy costs of such travel can be very great, even cost prohibitive. In 2006, 85 percent of hospital CEOs expect technological advances were likely to shift care to outpatient settings but costs of doing so are high and training will be essential.
Rural people need to know about pesticides and their uses and the effects of toxicants in their lives. They need to know about pollutants and secondary effects of combinations of substances that may become toxic. They need to know the benefits and costs of organic gardening and livestock raising. They need to know how to keep fit now that medical science has allowed increased life expectancy. We work at some of these issues and eagerly seek assistance and cooperators.
See database of organizations dealing with health and the environment. Also see Rachel's Precaution Reporter, and the Science and Environmental Health Network.
There are forming sections of this Internet unit on health and the rural environmental system:
Objectives for a human health component of a planning system are suggested.
Notes on planning for dealing with treatable disease in villages.
Key web sites are
Beyond any explanation, people ignore preventingand concentrate on treating disease or the unhealthy condition. The cost differences are orders of magnitude a difference of a few dollars to the worth of a life. The ease of work is as different as taking a a few tablets to tending a person through the last years as an invalid or death much before life-expectancy.This section on prevention will be expanded. We can start with: Information on immunizations , vaccines, and the diseases they prevent. In 2005 there was an immunization hot line at 1-800-232-2522.
Gender-based Medicine - It is now realized that men and women are significantly different in their susceptibility to disease problems and respond very differently to treatments for them. This has been found for heart disease and lung cancer and has been suggested for other diseases. The same diseases affect men and women in different ways. Osteoporosis is notable in its different effects on women than on men. Genes, hormones and life style cause the major differences in susceptibility to lung cancer, in heart attach symptoms, and others. It will be interesting to follow discoveries of other differences and how they might affect citizens and how they influence their own treatments. See Society for Women's Health Research.
See Chi Concept for insurance-based health incentives.
Preliminary notes on wildlife disease and health.
(from 2005 email) If we were to use the USDA daily recommendation of 2,000 calories per day, what would be the corn farmer's share of the food dollar? It may surprise you to learn that the farmerís share of the cost of your food is about $12.00 --per year! For less than one nickel per day man could survive on corn. This conclusion is based on the current market price for corn of $1.40 per bushel (much of this yearís crop selling for even less). Many Americans have no idea that a bushel of corn is 56 pounds of food.
Many of the things we eat are raised and/or processed from this basic form of food (as well as other similar staple crops with similar costs per calorie). According to USDA ( http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/FoodPlans/MiscPubs/FoodPlansRecipeBook.pdf), the monthly cost of food for an adult male in the U.S., under their "Thrift Plan" scenario, is $131 per month or $1,573 per year.
The basic component for a year's food supply (in this case corn) is only $12.07, and the cheapest a person can eat according to the USDA is $1,573. This means that through feeding of livestock, shipping, handling and/or processing, the food sector receives well over one hundred times its original investment.
See preliminary work on Land Health.
Lasting Forests Health Concept
While we are concerned for human health in general and know that when some of us are diseased, then there are risks to many of us. We are a social entity and all suffer in often small ways when any one is unhealthy.
Poor health suggests that employees may miss working periods or that they may not work at full potential, at least not at a fair-market rate for each contracted hour of work. Poor health can reduce production, but may result in personal accidents and harm and lost work among those around the unhealthy person. Simultaneously, good health creates an atmosphere within Rural System for the joy of work for the right reasons, comradship, consistent and predicatble team action, and reduced periods when others must take up the work for the missing or reduced work of others.
We expect employees and members to engage actively in gaining and maintaining their health. We develop and seek ways to provide readily-obtained indices of that health and provide related insurance and incentives. Health is a risk and cost reducer and we attempt to help people to get that reduction and estimate and report those numbers. We welcome university, hospital, and foundation participation in this quest that influences every avenue to potential success.
Rural people living in places of continuous high quality of life, have a natural incentive to provide food thatís healthy for people and the environment. Food supply can be met in a variety of ways which have consequences in terms of nutrition, disease risk, public health, environmental health, social and economic well being. These are linked in a complex ways. From the way food is grown, to the way it is packaged, shipped, consumed and discarded, the rural region's food purchasing decisions can play an important role, both direct and indirectly, in social as well as ecological health. Rural System works with citizens to adopt food procurement policies that:
...and thus demonstrate an understanding of the inextricable links between human, public, and ecosystem health.
See proposed notes on Health System
and Human Health being combined.
See Appalachian ASAP project and http://www.growing-minds.org/
February 8, 2006