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SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 80-81

Envisioning creation of a healthy city: The need, existing challenges, and potential actions


1 Vice-Principal Curriculum, Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication24-Jan-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mjmsr.mjmsr_34_19

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  Abstract 


In an attempt to improve the living standards, millions of individuals have migrated to cities and the current estimates reveal that 50% of the global population are living in cities. However, the life in a city poses a wide gamut of challenges and it is important to understand that health standards are not only determined by access to health system but also by supporting infrastructure and facilities. All these facts emphasize the need to create such kind of cities that can shield and promote health through the implementation of appropriate policies, structural reforms, and launch of health programs. The creation of a healthy city requires some key issues to be addressed, including mental illness, physical inactivity, consumption of unhealthy diet, pollution and environmental health hazards, road traffic injuries, and urban violence. In conclusion, the creation of a healthy city should be looked upon as an opportunity to not only improve the well-being of the general population but also will aid in the accomplishments of universal health coverage, national, and global goals for development.

Keywords: Age-friendly, healthy city, physical activity


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Envisioning creation of a healthy city: The need, existing challenges, and potential actions. Muller J Med Sci Res 2019;10:80-1

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Envisioning creation of a healthy city: The need, existing challenges, and potential actions. Muller J Med Sci Res [serial online] 2019 [cited 2020 Oct 21];10:80-1. Available from: https://www.mjmsr.net/text.asp?2019/10/2/80/276688




  Introduction Top


In an attempt to improve the living standards, millions of individuals have migrated to cities, and the current estimates reveal that 50% of the global population are living in cities.[1] Further, it has been projected that almost 67% of the global population will be living in cities by 2050, and the majority of this transition will be occurring in the African and Asian region.[1] From a policymaker and a public health perspective, there is an indispensable need to prioritize the issue of urban health and its development to ensure that the rising needs of individuals are met and their well-being safeguarded.[2]


  Challenges Attributed to City Life Top


In general, the life in a city poses a wide gamut of challenges and it is important to understand that health standards are not only determined by access to health system but also by supporting infrastructure (viz., housing, sanitation, transport, etc.,) and facilities such as access to employment, education, and healthy food.[2],[3] The absence or substandard facilities have accounted for the outbreaks of infectious diseases, a rise in the incidence of lifestyle diseases, mental health problems, accidents, and mental disorders.[1] All these facts emphasize the need to create such kind of cities that can shield and promote health through the implementation of appropriate policies, structural reforms and the launch of health programs.[2],[3],[4]


  Points to Ponder Top


The creation of a healthy city requires some key issues to be addressed, including mental illness, physical inactivity, consumption of unhealthy diet, pollution and environmental health hazards, road traffic injuries, and urban violence.[2],[3],[4],[5],[6] It is important to remember that a major proportion of people who migrate to cities, do so under different pressures (such as unemployment, loss of family members, etc.,), and these potential factors become the main reason for the development or progression of mental illnesses.[1] At the same time, city life further promotes social isolation, loneliness, and the lack of social cohesion.[1] The merits of physical activity and consumption of a healthy diet have been known for decades together, but their importance magnifies immensely among the urban dwellers due to minimal opportunity for the people to indulge in physical activity and ample opportunities to consume junk foods.[2],[5]


  Envisioning Healthy City Top


These problems can be met with better planning and strategies to make urban spaces more conducive to good mental health through equally accessible health-care services and counseling centers and establishments of such centers at even workplaces.[1],[2]

In the process of creation of a healthy city, adequate attention has to be given to enable people to integrate exercise into their lives, and enhance interaction of people with the environment through the creation of safe green spaces for recreational activities, involving the food industry. In addition, strategies like regulating marketing approaches and promotion of simple labels on packed food items will help people to make an informed choice.[1],[2],[5]

Acknowledging the fact that in cities, 90% of people breathe polluted air each day, with sources being the vehicle, factories, households, and smoking.[1] As the number is quite high, there are no doubts that the incidence of associated diseases and malignancies is also very high. This calls for the formulation of comprehensive regulatory provisions and stringent implementation of the same with heavy penalty/punishment to the offenders, including those who smoke in public places. In addition, awareness campaigns and environmental reforms have a big role to play in reducing all forms of environmental pollution in the cities.[1],[2]

On a similar note, strict implementation of safety norms while designing vehicles, adhering to speed limits, improving the urban infrastructure, and efficient postcrash response, will significantly minimize the incidence and improve the outcomes of road traffic injuries.[2] Furthermore, accepting the fact of the increase in average life expectancy, it is our responsibility to ensure that elderly people lead a healthy life and be a part of a productive society.[1] The need of the hour is to create age-friendly city, which can respond flexibly to the varied needs (such as accessible housing, transport, health services, and social support mechanisms) of the elderly.[3],[4],[6] As a matter of fact, the World Health Organization has been working to create a network of health cities which have provisions to meet all the identified challenges and we have to continue the work with even more intensity.[1]


  Conclusion Top


The creation of a healthy city should be looked upon as an opportunity to not only improve the well-being of the general population but also will aid in the accomplishments of universal health coverage, national, and global goals for development.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. How to Make a Healthy City. World Health Organization; 2019. Available from: https://cities-spotlight.who.int/. [Last accessed on 2019 Aug 18].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Wang Y, Wang X, Guan F. The beneficial evaluation of the healthy city construction in China. Iran J Public Health 2017;46:843-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Moving into the era of age-friendly society: The global public health need. CHRISMED J Health Res 2016;3:147-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
  [Full text]  
4.
Jackisch J, Zamaro G, Green G, Huber M. Is a healthy city also an age-friendly city? Health Promot Int 2015;30 Suppl 1:i108-17.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. How can we respond to the challenge of insufficient physical activity? Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:1377-8.  Back to cited text no. 5
  [Full text]  
6.
Huang NC, Kuo HW, Hung TJ, Hu SC. Do healthy city performance awards lead to health in all policies? A case of Taiwan. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2019;16. pii: E1061.  Back to cited text no. 6
    




 

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  In this article
Abstract
Introduction
Challenges Attri...
Points to Ponder
Envisioning Heal...
Conclusion
References

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