Guest Blog on HealthLawProf Blog:
Poor people live shorter lives, substantially shorter in certain impoverished communities. A recent New York Times article highlighted the significant gaps in life expectancy among different counties in Virginia: “Residents of Fairfax County are among the longest-lived in the country: Men have an average life expectancy of 82 years and women, 85, about the same as in Sweden. In McDowell, the averages are 64 and 73, about the same as in Iraq.”
The poor are less likely to have access to needed health care and more likely to smoke, be overweight, and to live with constant stress, which we now know is harmful to the human body. It is at this critical juncture (as well as others) that public health and human rights meet. As public health professionals focus on the social determinants of health, relatively few approach these issues through a human rights framework or in partnership with human rights advocates. Likewise, human rights activists miss opportunities to partner with, and build upon the work of, public health.
The social determinants of health implicate human rights, and visa versa....
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