197182 Water Scarcity and Life Expectancy at Birth: A Worldwide Analysis

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

José Luis Navarro Espigares, PhD, Prof, Mgr , Economic Department, University Hospital Virgen de las Nieves, Granada, Spain
José Aureliano Martín Segura, PhD, Prof , Department of Management, Granada University, Ceuta, Spain
Pedro González de la Flor, MD, PhD , Preventive Medicine Department, University General Hospital of Jaén, Jaén, Spain
The Water Poverty Index (WPI) is an interdisciplinary measure that links household welfare with water availability and indicates how water scarcity impacts human populations. Water availability and income per capita may play determinant roles in worldwide life expectancy variations.

In this paper we investigate whether the influence of water as a population health determinant is equal around the world. We also include the influence of income per capita on life expectancy as a proxy variable for quality of life and wealth.

We utilized data on the five main components of the WPI (Resources, Access, Capacity, Use, and Environment) for 128 countries plus their corresponding life expectancy and per capita GDP published by the World Bank. A regression model was used to measure the relative influence of each variable on life expectancy at birth.

The grouped analysis shows that these six variables explained 76% of the life expectancy at birth variation. Analysis of variance demonstrated that our model, considered as a whole, is statistically significant. However, taken individually, only two variables were significant predictors, "access" and "capacity". The variable "GDP", included in the "capacity" dimension, was redundant. After segmentation into major continental areas, the model maintains its explanatory power for Asia, Europe, and North and Central America.

In conclusion, water is not considered a determinant of life expectancy at birth for the Middle East and North Africa, South America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Furthermore, limitation in water resources has no significant impact on life expectancy.

Learning Objectives:
Analyze how water scarcity impacts human health around the world. Identify the individual impact of the five main components integrated in the Water Poverty Index.

Keywords: Water, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I work as a professor of Applied Economics in the University of Granada. My researches are focus on health economics.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.