Explore the Text Exercises
1. Read the Text and the definition of life
expectancy at birth and answer the following questions:
- What does life
expectancy at birth mean?
- What does it
tell you about a country?
- On the basis
of your experience, what do people need to maintain health?
- On the basis
of your experience, what do people need when they are ill?
- Based on the
above answers, what can you infer about conditions in a country with
a low rate of life expectancy at birth?
2. Read the Text
and the glossary definitions of infant mortality and under-five mortality,
and answer the following questions:
- What do infant
mortality rates measure? What do under-five mortality rates measure?
- Why do low-income
countries have lower rates of infant and under-five mortality?
- Why is infancy
and childhood such an important period in determining a country's
life expectancy at birth?
3. Life expectancy
statistics do not tell how long a person will actually live,
but rather, how long a person, on average is likely to live.
Changes in income, health conditions, and education are constantly occurring
and will affect life in a country. Read the list below and decide whether
each situation is likely to increase or reduce life expectancy at birth,
or have little or no effect in either direction. Explain your decision.
- A severe drought
causes a famine.
- A new health
clinic opens and more children are inoculated against childhood diseases.
- The government
declares a new national holiday for all workers.
- Village women
attend classes to learn more about good nutrition and hygiene.
- Traveling nurses
monitor the growth of infants and provide extra food to those who
are not thriving.
- Men from a low-income
neighborhood lose their jobs when the factory in which they work closes.
4. Which of the
following government actions would best respond to the problems listed
below: (building pit toilets, using posters and handouts to transmit
information, testing women for iron deficiency, requiring immunizations
for all male and female children).
- Doctors note
an alarming increase in HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) in pregnant
- Problem: An increase
in measles and polio occurs among children.
- Problem: Many
women give birth to underweight babies.
- Problem: A village
suffers from an epidemic of Cholera, a disease transmitted by contaminated
- Problem: Alcoholism
increases following a severe economic depression.
5. Study the table
and answer and discuss at least three of the following questions:
of GNP per Capita (low, middle, high)
birthweight babies as a percent of all births, 1992-1998
of adult males who smoke, 1985-1998
of adults infected with HIV, 1997
of children under 12 months with immunization for measles, 1995-1998
- According to
the Text, surviving the first five years
is the most important factor in determining life expectancy at birth
in a country. Based on that statement, which of the countries in the
chart is most likely to have low life expectancy at birth? Why?
- In what country
might life expectancy at birth actually decline? Why?
- Which countries
might experience an increase in its adult mortality rate in two or
- What evidence
in the table would suggest that education could bring improvement
in these public health problems? What other factors might also be
required for further improvement in these statistics?
- Why might it
be more difficult for a low-income country like Togo to educate its
people about the dangers of AIDS and smoking than for high-income
countries like Portugal or the United States?
- What is your
hypothesis for why it appears to be easier for countries to achieve
high levels of measles immunizations than to reduce the percentage
of low birthweight babies?
- How might some
high-income countries contribute to the high levels of smoking in
low- and middle-income countries?
- How might some
high-income countries contribute to the high levels of immunization
for measles in many low- and middle-income countries?
- Countries usually
base their decisions and policies on the priorities of their governments
and people. To what extent does the evidence in the chart, suggest
the top public health priority of each country? Hypothesize about
other reasons for the variation in the statistics.
6. Based on the
Text and your own knowledge, argue for or against
the following statement: Life expectancy at birth is a useful indicator
for measuring Sustainable Development.