Excerpt from the article by Mark Kinver:
“The Urban Health & Well-being Programme aims to better understand what makes a “healthy urban environment”…The launch of the programme comes amid a growing body of research that links urbanisation with growing health risks.
“Historically, a lot of the focus in health has been on rural health,” explained Prof Anthony Capon, director of the UN University’s International Institute for Global Health, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Prof. Capon told BBC News: “When we take an overview, urban areas are very important determinates of health.
“The way we live on a day-to-day basis in cities affects our health in so many ways, whether it is the air that we breath, or the fact that many people in cities around the world are very sedentary (sitting at a desk in an office or sitting in a car to get to and from work) — and many people are also eating very unhealthy foods.
“We are facing global epidemics of non-communicable diseases — heart disease, diabetes and so on — and mental health problems. We are also seeing the health impact of climate change, such as heat-stress in cities and changes in the distribution of infectious vector-borne diseases.”
But he added that the programme offered hope: “Now that most people live within cities, we have got the opportunity to rethink the way that we live in cities and the way we plan and develop cities.”