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1.  Effects of heat on workers' health and productivity in Taiwan 
Global Health Action  2009;2:10.3402/gha.v2i0.2024.
Background
The impact of global warming on population health is a growing concern and has been widely discussed. The issue of heat stress disorders and consequent productivity reduction among workers has not yet been widely addressed. Taiwan is an island straddling the Tropic of Cancer in the West Pacific and has both subtropical and tropical climates. As of 2008, the economy of Taiwan accounts for 1.1% of the world gross domestic product at purchasing power parity and is listed as 19th in the world and eighth in Asia, according to International Monetary Fund data.
Objective
The aim of this paper is to identify occupations at risk and the potential health impacts of heat on workers in Taiwan.
Design
Historical data relating to meteorology, population, the labour force and economy were obtained from publicly available databases from the Taiwanese government.
Results
Hot seasons with an average maximum temperature above 30°C and relative humidity above 74%, lasting for four to six months from May to October, pose health threats to construction, farming and fishery workers. In particular, populations of ageing farmers and physically overloaded construction workers are the two most vulnerable worker categories in which high temperature impacts on health and productivity.
Conclusions
Currently, regulations and preventive actions for heat relief are difficult to enforce for several reasons, including lack of equipment for measuring environmental conditions, lack of awareness of potential hazards and strict time constraints imposed on workers. There is an urgent need to systematically and comprehensively assess the impact of a warming climate on workers’ health and productivity to provide effective prevention strategies for a better working and living environment in Taiwan.
doi:10.3402/gha.v2i0.2024
PMCID: PMC2799321  PMID: 20052376
occupational health; global warming; hot temperature; heat stress disorders; productivity
2.  Political and social determinants of life expectancy in less developed countries: a longitudinal study 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:85.
Background
This study aimed to examine the longitudinal contributions of four political and socioeconomic factors to the increase in life expectancy in less developed countries (LDCs) between 1970 and 2004.
Methods
We collected 35 years of annual data for 119 LDCs on life expectancy at birth and on four key socioeconomic indicators: economy, measured by log10 gross domestic product per capita at purchasing power parity; educational environment, measured by the literacy rate of the adult population aged 15 years and over; nutritional status, measured by the proportion of undernourished people in the population; and political regime, measured by the regime score from the Polity IV database. Using linear mixed models, we analyzed the longitudinal effects of these multiple factors on life expectancy at birth with a lag of 0-10 years, adjusting for both time and regional correlations.
Results
The LDCs' increases in life expectancy over time were associated with all four factors. Political regime had the least influence on increased life expectancy to begin with, but became significant starting in the 3rd year and continued to increase, while the impact of the other socioeconomic factors began strong but continually decreased over time. The combined effects of these four socioeconomic and political determinants contributed 54.74% - 98.16% of the life expectancy gains throughout the lag periods of 0-10 years.
Conclusions
Though the effect of democratic politics on increasing life expectancy was relatively small in the short term when compared to the effects of the other socioeconomic factors, the long-term impact of democracy should not be underestimated.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-85
PMCID: PMC3331806  PMID: 22280469
Life expectancy; Socioeconomic factors; Developing countries; World health; Political factors; Public health; Malnutrition; Literacy; Democracy

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