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Environmental Health

  • By: Heather M. Zoller
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Understanding environmental sources of illness is a key challenge for the health disciplines in the 21st century. Ulrich Beck characterizes the “risk society” as one that organizes around managing human-made risks associated with modernity. Essential to understanding environmental health are the different ways of conceptualizing the subject, examples of environmental health risks, and the role of communication in promoting health and preventing illness.

Public health scholars and practitioners conceptualize environmental health in different ways. One approach may construe the environment in terms of lifestyle influences (for instance, the degree to which homes and communities are conducive to good health choices). However, the primary construct investigates the health effects of toxins, pollution, and other exposures from the natural and built environments. An ecosystem perspective views human health ...

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