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date: 21 April 2024

Disease and Illnesses. 

The Oxford Encyclopedia Women in World History
Barbara TedlockBarbara Tedlock

For more than fifty years researchers have examined the many fundamental causal links among subsistence patterns, demographic trends, socioeconomic changes, and environmental shifts that directly and indirectly affect disease and mortality patterns. A three-stage model has been developed that identifies an initial hunting-and-gathering era beginning approximately 600,000 years ago. At that time, even though infectious diseases were infrequent, death rates were extremely high and life was short, perhaps only twenty to twenty-five years. The era of agriculture emerged about eight thousand years ago with its secure food supply that created densely populated urban areas providing ideal conditions for the emergence and spread of many human infections. The result was high mortality rates from communicable diseases and a life expectancy at birth of between thirty and forty years. During the third era, that of industrialization, there was a steep decline of infectious diseases, and life expectancy rose to forty-six to forty-eight years.... ...

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