NEW YORK CITY, New York — Poverty has the power to induce poor health outcomes in children. That is why Alisson Becker, a goalkeeper for Liverpool F.C., has become a World Health Organization (WHO) Goodwill Ambassador for Health Promotion. Acting as an advocate for health and fitness in children around the globe, Becker saves worldwide health as part of a large movement working to inspire communities and nations around the world to supply the proper health services for those who need them– regardless of their background.
Poverty and Health
The influence of poverty on health outcomes, particularly in children, is drastic. On average, children living in low-income families tend to have poorer health outcomes. According to a study focusing on the impact of poverty on children’s health in Canada, these include both mental and physical health, as poverty increases the risk of:
- Developing asthma due to higher rates of low birth weight, lower rates of breastfeeding and less access to health care services. Housing quality and exposure to pollutants may also be a factor.
- Becoming overweight or obese, as low-income neighborhoods are more likely to lack safe playgrounds, parks and other facilities that promote exercise.
- Sustaining injuries, as a variety of factors, including lack of parental supervision from working parents, housing that lacks safety measures, crime that enlarges the risk of violence and poor safety of the environment/neighborhood risk injury.
- Developing poor mental and functional health, since income impacts the availability of social exchanges, affecting parental mental health and overall family functioning.
Becoming an Ambassador
Widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the world, Alisson Becker is a professional soccer player who plays for Liverpool F.C. in the Premier League and the Brazilian national team. Inspired by how much sports and physical activity can help overcome mental health challenges, Becker decided to become a WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Health Promotion in 2019 to encourage healthy lifestyles in children worldwide.
WHO’s mission statement for its Health Promotion campaign is to promote healthy lives by guiding communities and countries worldwide to implement health services that will help people achieve high levels of wellbeing. Thus, as an Ambassador, Becker saves worldwide health by recognizing the power of his sport and teaming up with WHO to share this power with others, achieving improved worldwide health.
Expanding upon his work as an Ambassador with WHO, Becker said to Fox Sports, “We are passionate about promoting actions that make a real difference in people’s health, from following healthy diets and reducing salt, sugar and trans fat consumption, to being physically active.” Beyond the physical element, Becker also saves worldwide health by incorporating mental health, saying, “You cannot have good all-around health without mental health and wellbeing. Sports and physical activity offer many ways to help people overcome mental health challenges.”
Beckers’s wife, Natália Loewe Becker, is also a Goodwill Ambassador for Health Promotion. Natália is a medical doctor and health advocate from Brazil and focuses her attention on promoting childhood immunizations, nutrition, healthy lifestyles for children and improving sanitation in local communities, according to WHO. Together, Alisson and Natália fight the same battles as Ambassadors.
A Promising Future
Ultimately, Becker saves worldwide health in a multitude of ways through his work as a WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Health Promotion. In promoting a healthy lifestyle for children around the world, Becker is looking to be a step ahead of the adverse health effects many people unjustly face, particularly those living in poverty. Along with his wife and other Ambassadors, this team has a lot of promise to create a healthier future.
– Sarah DiLuzio