Global inequalities in health and access to medical care have increased over the past 30 years, say two World Health Organization reports released Friday.
"Inequalities in health outcomes and access to care are much greater today than they were in 1978," said Hans Troedsson, the WHO representative in China, Agence France Presse reported. "Genes do not explain any of this," he added.
"Instead, the differences between -- and within -- countries result from the social environment where people are born, live, grow, work and age. It also depends on health systems that are put in place to manage illnesses," Troedsson said.
As examples of inequalities, the WHO said a child born in a suburb of Glasgow, Scotland, could live 28 years less than a child born just 13 kilometers away. And a girl born in Japan can expect to live 42 years longer than one born in Lesotho, AFP reported.
The WHO said causes of health inequalities need to be better understood, more must be done to improve daily living conditions of the underprivileged, and more attention must be focused on prevention, AFP reported.