How Does Globalization Influence Health and Lifestyle?
Traditionally, globalization was welcomed in a host of countries. It was based on the idea that it could increase international trade and ensure the improvement of local economies (Dean and Ritzer 38). The rise in negative effects if globalization especially those targeting the local health and lifestyles of different individuals within countries have become a subject of concern. This explains why there is need for governments in different countries to assess the effects of globalization with regard to the improvement of the health and lifestyle of their citizens.
Globalization and its effects on health and lifestyle
Health and cultural challenges have been perceived as the two main triggers of globalization. This is because globalization has the ability of reinforcing cultural diffusion and exchange (Dean and Ritzer 38). The danger of this approach to cultural exchange is that globalization can undermine the local cultural identity. Globalization through the spread of American corporations such as McDonalds has visible and variable consequences on the host countries. Food is not only a representative of local food culture but also helps in revealing the traditions and habits of the society.
Inasmuch as people in different countries are currently enjoying the benefits arising from economic globalization, there is growing concern that he threats from culture, religion and immigration may change the lifestyle of the local population. The lifestyle of the local population changes because globalization increases global commerce making members of the public to receive more income (Dean and Ritzer 39). Such a population can be perceived as satisfied with the advantages of globalization. Despite the benefits, there is also increasing concern among members of the local population that globalization threatens their national identities and traditional cultures. This is because as tendencies such as immigration continue increasing annually, foreign cultures are perceived to interfere with the prevailing local cultures (Dean and Ritzer 39). This is especially when the immigrant population perceive their cultures as superior to the local cultures. The introduction of foreign cultures also has the ability of interfering with the prevailing religious beliefs considering that with globalization dominant religions seek to ensure more influence in different societies. This not only threatens the existing religions but also increases the possibility that the host countries will experience cultural erosion especially if their foundations were relatively weak compared to the intruding foreign cultures (Dean and Ritzer 40).
Other than cultural erosion, globalization has also been accused of undermining local habits and traditional cultures. This is based on the realization that through globalization, people in host countries have been able to develop new traditions that change their original lifestyle (Kapur 1). For instance, McDonalds, through its globalization tendencies has been able to expand its business in different parts of the world hence altering the lifestyles of the host countries by introducing new eating habits. This has not only been considered as a negative effect on the existing lifestyle but also affects the health of the population. This is because uncontrolled consumption of fast foods from the food chain has led to increased health concerns because of the rise of lifestyle diseases such as obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes among members of the local population (Kapur 1).
Globalization, through the film industry, has also contributed to changes in lifestyles of different population. Hollywood films for instance are increasingly gaining a dominant position in the world. Through these films, people have increasingly gotten accustomed to American values and customs as espoused in the films. Different societies are increasingly acquiring the western lifestyle, which affect their language, fashion, eating habits and eventually eroding traditional cultures. Furthermore, through Hollywood movies the population in different host countries has been exposed to varieties of lifestyle changes orchestrated by cultural practices borrowed from western norms and values. This has eroded the socialization processes that defined life in local communities (Kapur 3).
Inasmuch as globalization may be generating negative effects on the lifestyle and health of individuals in different societies, it also plays an essential role in improving the technological knowledge of the local community. This is an essential aspect with regard to health, economic and political growth of local communities because globalization provides platform such as the internet for information and knowledge sharing (Sala 1). Communities that embrace the technological aspects of globalization are bound to experience improvements in the society considering that through knowledge sharing the local communities they not only receive information but also develop new approaches and techniques of solving societal problems and challenges. Globalization, through technology improves on the lifestyle of members of the host country by proving better alternatives of addressing increasing health concerns (Sala 2). In addition, by providing health related solutions, globalization also ensures that experts from different societies can engage in research initiatives in an attempt to ensure that future problems are addressed with regard to improving on the lifestyles and the health status of members of the host countries. This is an indication that globalization seeks to generate a pool of ideas essential for growth and prosperity of communities (Sala 2).
There is a growing concern among individuals in different countries concerning the negative effects generated by the transitions of globalization. Globalization threatens national identities and traditional cultures considering that as events such as immigration increase, foreign cultures interfere with the prevailing local cultures. These effects range from the introduction of new foods and eating habits. Furthermore, through the film industry and technological innovation, globalization has enabled a paradigm shift in the way different communities understand the world and solve their problems
Dean, Paul, and Ritzer, George. Globalization: A Basic Text. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2015.
Kapur, Akash. How India Became America. Pondicherry, India, 2012
Sala, Ilaria, Maria. Taming Globalization? Kebabs, Mini-Skirts and Meth – Part II. Yale Center
for the Study of Globalization, 2010