New trends in global public health have social, economic, and political underpinnings that can be found in three 20th century revolutions: globalization, a new epidemiological transition, and an historical shift in patterns of production and consumption throughout the world. Globalization is more than the internationalization of commerce and manufacture; it represents a new development paradigm that creates new links among corporations, international organizations, governments, communities, and families. Social and economic restructuring is reflected in the emerging health profile in underdeveloped countries, including those in Latin America. This emerging profile defies simple categorization, however; while the prevalence of cardiovascular disease and cancer has increased, the traditional diseases (infectious and respiratory disease) are still the leading cause of death. At the same time, industrialized countries are experiencing the re-emergence of those same traditional diseases. These apparent anomalies can be understood by examining class structures within and among countries and by linking health outcomes at the local level to new patterns of production and consumption in the global system.