PUTTING PROMOTING HEALTH IN PERSPECTIVE

September 27, 2016 09:30 – 10:45
Speeches
Keynote 1: Promoting health in the Anthropocene (Australia)

Professor Anthony G. Capon, Director, International Institute for Global Health, United Nations University 
By most measures, human health is better now than at any time in human history.  Life expectancy has risen from 47 years in 1950-55 to 69 years in 2005-10, and mortality rates for children younger than 5 years of age have decreased substantially, from 214 per thousand live births in 1950-55 to 59 in 2005-10.  However, these gains in human health have been unequally distributed and have come at the high price of degradation of natural systems on a scale never before seen in human history.  While there is ample evidence that the health of people is inextricably linked to the health of the environment, the human species now threatens to destabilise the Earth’s life support systems. 

Published in 2015, The Rockefeller Foundation–Lancet Commission on Planetary Health Report Safeguarding human ... More

Keynote 2: Social Determinants of Health (USA)

Awareness is increasing that medical care alone cannot adequately improve health overall or reduce health inequalities without also addressing where and how people live. A critical mass of relevant knowledge has accumulated, documenting associations, exploring pathways and biological mechanisms, and providing a previously unavailable scientific foundation for appreciating the role of social –including economic--factors in health.  This presentation will summarize highlights from current knowledge about health effects of fundamental or “upstream” social factors --including economic resources, education, and racial or ethnic  discrimination—that fundamentally shape the “downstream determinants,” such as behaviors of individuals, that are targeted by most interventions. 

Research priorities will be noted, including better measurement of social factors, monitoring social factors and health ... More

Keynote 3: Epigenetics: effects on disease development/implications for prevention (Malaysia)

In recent years, debate on the influence of Nature versus Nurture on the phenotype of individuals has resurfaced due to heightened interest in the epigenome.  While the genetic make-up of an individual is obviously important, recognition that DNA itself does not do anything and that the real action lies in gene expression, has prompted reasoning that “DNA is not our destiny.”

Epigenetics, literally meaning “above” or “in addition to” genetics, is about how the genome of living things is organized and managed, and the processes that alter gene activity without altering genetic sequences.  Emerging evidence that such alterations are modifiable and transgenerational, lend credence to concepts that ancestral experiences can mark an individual’s genes. Variation in obesity and coat colour of genetically identical mouse pups can be traced to the methylation state of the agouti gene, ... More