The Environment and Human Health
Environments Influence Human Health and Disease
Environmental health is the field of science that studies how the environment influences human health and disease. “Environment” in this context can include any or all of the following.
1. The natural environment, including air, water and soil; and also the physical, chemical, biological and social features of our surroundings.
2. The man-made, or “built,” environment, such as physical structures where people live and work (e.g., homes, offices, schools, farms and factories); community systems, such as roads and transportation systems; land use practices and waste management. Human alterations of the natural environment, such as through air pollution, are also considered part of the man-made environment.
3. The social environment, encompassing lifestyle factors like diet and exercise, socioeconomic status, and other societal influences that may affect health.
4. Environmental interaction with a person’s genetic make-up, which can shift the balance between disease and health.
- National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services. What Is Environmental Health? National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (www.niehs.nih.gov).
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Grant Number: R25ES010698-07S1