Can sustainable lifestyle practices help prevent non-communicable diseases?
AffiliationOffice for Environmental Programs
MetadataShow full item record
Document TypeMasters Coursework thesis
Access StatusOnly available to University of Melbourne staff and students, login required
© 2015 Antonia Trompieri Abreu C. Mendes
The world has been facing an exponential growth, not only in its population but also in the demand of material goods. Especially affluent countries, purchasing much more than their needs, adopt a high consumption lifestyle. Hence, the natural resources do not have time to recover from such an intense exploitation. As a consequence, capitalist lifestyle has a negative impact on the environment. The urban expansion and high exploitation of natural resources cause deforestation and loss of biodiversity. Also, the consumer society produces a considerable amount of waste and pollution. One of the consequences is human driven climate change, where the burning of fossil fuels have been increasing the amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and trapping more heat into the Earth. Additionally, environmental impacts present a high risk for the global community well being. Despite of all development humanity achieved in the past century, this new lifestyle is not only affecting the natural environment but also individual’s health. The current scenario created a suitable environment for communicable and non-communicable diseases propagation. The modern society created an ‘obesogenic’ setting that supports unhealthy patterns. Consequently, the so-called diseases of affluence or non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are a growing epidemic around the globe. Those diseases are not contagious. People develop then throughout their lives according to their daily choices. Therefore, the current consumer behaviour is not only destroying Earth’s nature but also decreasing human’s health. Voluntary Simplicity is a movement that emerged as a low environmental impact lifestyle. In this study, I will approach the voluntary simplicity (VS) possible health benefits. The movement originated based on environmental friendly lifestyles in order to promote living standards based on human survival needs rather than pursuing unnecessary material acquisitions. Simplifiers seek a low environmental impact by minimising waste and eliminating superfluous consumerism. Nonetheless, the simple lifestyle promotes many habits that resonate with NCDs prevention. The simple living movement argue that well-being does not relies on superfluous material acquisitions. An individual can be happy having sufficient to survive and their happiness won’t increase by achieving material goals. Nonetheless, involuntary simplicity it is not part of the VS movement, which is the low-income people that have a simple lifestyle but not because they choose to. The main focus in this paper is to analyse possible health benefits of adopting VS. Many of the habits adopted by a VS lifestyle aligns with the behaviour recommendations to prevent NCDs. VS movement involves: growing your own food, participating in community swapping, fresh and organic diet, community engagement, active transport, do-it yourself and recycling culture. Nonetheless, there is a lack of literature that analyse VS direct impacts on NCDs prevalence. The hypothesis tested is if VS would be a good joint solution for two major issues of this century, which is NCDs epidemic and natural environment degradation. I will test it by cross section evaluation of the existent studies regarding diseases of affluence epidemic, modern lifestyle impacts on the environment and VS benefits. Nevertheless, the expectation is to find that promoting VS can have a positive impact on population health and reduce non-communicable diseases prevalence, while at the same time reducing environmental impact
Keywordsnon-communicable diseases; voluntary simplicity; environmental impact; sustainability; public health
- Click on "Export Reference in RIS Format" and choose "open with... Endnote".
- Click on "Export Reference in RIS Format". Login to Refworks, go to References => Import References