World Health Day 2010 to Focus on Urbanization and Health

By Bomberg, Neil | Nation's Cities Weekly, March 1, 2010 | Go to article overview

World Health Day 2010 to Focus on Urbanization and Health


Bomberg, Neil, Nation's Cities Weekly


The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that this year's World Health Day, to be celebrated on April 7, will focus on urbanization and health.

Why urbanization and health? More than 3 billion people worldwide live in cities, and for the first time in human history, more than 50 percent of all people live in cities. In the U.S., more than 80 percent of all Americans live in cities and towns, and what the U.S. Census Bureau calls urban areas.

And so, the theme of "urbanization and health" was borne with the recognition that urbanization has a substantial impact on individual and collective health.

The challenges that WHO has identified--water, environment, violence and injury, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their risk factors like tobacco use, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, harmful use of alcohol as well as the risks associated with communicable diseases--are all being experienced here in the U.S. and in cities and towns across America.

WHO believes that every nation in the world, including the U.S., is at a clear turning point where the continued urbanization of our society is carrying with it major health challenges that cities and towns across America are trying to meet.

World Health Day 2010 is meant to draw attention to the theme of urbanization and health and to engage cities and towns, as well as national organizations like NLC, to share the effort to put health at the heart of urban policy. …

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