Evolving models of human health toward an ecosystem ...

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Title Evolving models of human health toward an ecosystem context
Author(s) John A. VanLeeuwen, D. Waltner-Toews, T. Abernathy, B. Smit
Journal Ecosystem Health
Date 1999
Volume 5
Issue 3
Start page 204
End page 219
Abstract Current models or frameworks used to represent and/or conduct research on determinants of human health have lagged behind in adopting emerging concepts of ecosystems: multiple spatial and temporal scales; nested hierarchies of socioeconomic and biophysical environments; inherent complexity of interrelationships among environmental components and influences; external environmental influences; and feedback leaps between environments, providing self-organizational capacity and functional emergent properties. This article provides a concise description of a number of human health models and their relevance to an ecosystem health context. A new model of human health is described, the "Butterfly Model of Health," that draws on the strengths of previous health models, but more fully incorporates salient characteristics of ecosystems. in the new model, health is considered to be a societally defined, social, economic, and biological resource for self-renewal and meeting goals. This capacity is dependent on an equitable balance between socioeconomic and biophysical environmental pressures. Within the model, the hearth of the individual or population (the body of the butterfly), enveloped by biological and behavioral fillers, is affected by both biophysical and socioeconomic holarchic environments (the wings), which are influenced by each other through the actions of individuals. Health is present when the two wings of the butterfly ate equitably balanced within and between their respective dimensions, with neither dominating and putting undo pressure on the other, The model is sufficiently flexible to conceptualize links with community and ecosystem models in a variety of contexts.
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