Urban health

“Where people live affects their health and chances of leading flourishing lives. Communities and neighbourhoods that ensure access to basic goods, that are socially cohesive, that are designed to promote good physical and psychological wellbeing, and that are protective of the natural environment are essential for health equity.”

– Closing the gap in a generation, WHO headquarters, 2008

Two thirds of the population of the European Region live in towns and cities. Urban areas are often unhealthy places to live, characterized by heavy traffic, pollution, noise, violence and social isolation for elderly people and young families. People in towns and cities experience increased rates of noncommunicable disease, injuries, and alcohol and substance abuse, with the poor typically exposed to the worst environments. However, there are ways to tackle these challenges.

Urban health was the theme of World Health Day, 7 April 2010.