Trade and social determinants of health.

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Trade and social determinants of health.

Lancet. 2009 Feb 7;373(9662):502-7

Authors: Blouin C, Chopra M, van der Hoeven R

The effects of trade and trade liberalisation on the social determinants of health are not well known. Here, we outline a conceptual framework of links between trade liberalisation and health outcomes, and review existing evidence for these by focusing on four key factors: income, inequality, economic insecurity, and unhealthy diets. Even though trade liberalisation seems to have positive effects on economic growth, it is not sufficient to boost growth. In several countries, trade reforms have not translated into enhanced economic expansion because complementary policies are needed. Trade liberalisation and openness are associated with greater wage inequality and raised economic insecurity. Trade liberalisation has facilitated availability of highly processed, calorie-rich, nutrient-poor food in developing countries, but further research is needed to better understand the effects of trade on unhealthy diets. Policymakers and health professionals need to be aware that the global economy affects the health of populations and understand how risks associated with trade liberalisation can be mitigated.

PMID: 19167058 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]