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La obesidad y los problemas de salud crónicos tienen una aparente estrecha relación con los factores urbanos.

Los investigadores de la planificación urbana están ampliando sus horizontes y prestan mayor atención a cómo sus campos profesionales afectan el comportamiento y la salud humana.

There is currently a growing interest in how physical inactivity, obesity and chronic health problems have an apparent close relationship with urban factors. Urban planning researchers are broadening their horizons and paying more attention to how their professional fields affect human health.

ONU-Habitat Mexico

26 February 2019


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The links between physical activity and health care are well known: Physical inactivity contributes to increasing the risk of many chronic diseases and conditions, such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, colon cancer, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and coronary diseases. In many cities of the world, obesity has reached epidemic proportions without making distinctions of race, age or socioeconomic status.

"Aging, globalization, urbanization, and the rise in obesity and physical inactivity in the Americas have made cardiovascular diseases the leading cause of death and disability in the region, accounting for almost one-third of all Regional mortality, with the risk generally higher in men compared to women." World Health Organization1

The implications of health and "place" relationship are far-reaching

“It may not be common to explicitly consider health when selecting a place to live, but research indicates it would be worth considering.”

A exploratory study reveals a possible relation between health and urban form , where

In contrast, compact cities are associated with lower levels of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and asthma.

According to experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and UN-Habitat, urban health problems are only growing, partly because cities are also growing. Half of the world's population will live in cities by 2050, and two billion of them will be in slums.

The health landscape becomes much more complicated when health problems among urban dwellers are related to the economic class, partly because the predominantly poor and minority neighborhoods have been trapped by disastrous urban planning decisions that keep them isolated and far away of an adequate sanitary infrastructure.


Drag to the ODS3 those health and well-being problems that a bad urban design could cause.


A poorly planned city does not contribute to good health and well-being

Poor transportation and excessive dependence on cars have made people spend more time commuting. Likewise, the availability of healthy foods is restricted by poor urban planning decisions and increasingly long work schedules that lead people to opt for low nutritional convenience food diets. The interaction of these factors is reflected in the growing rates of overweight and obesity, especially in urban areas.3


Puestos de comida callejeros en la CDMX.

9 out of 10 people in the world breathe contaminated air

Paradoxically, in many cities there are people who take advantage of the relative density of their city to transport themselves by bicycle as a healthy activity, however, air pollution has a negative impact on health. It is a negative feedback loop : Once you exercise, you increase your breathing rate, you breathe more, more air goes to your lungs and your exposure to air pollution increases. 3

Many of the world's mega cities exceed the air quality levels recommended by WHO by more than five times.

But there is still hope!

According to public health and urban planning research available, there is moderate support for the assertion that urban form can have significant (positive or negative) health influences.

If this statement is true, health professionals can improve public health by advocating for more compact cities. Public health researchers can refine their understanding of physical activity, obesity and morbidity by including variables of urban forms in their analyzes. 4

Similarly, the key to solving all these urban health problems is to move away from policy approaches focused on treatment-oriented health care, which recognize health problems only after they begin.

The good news is that city planners are beginning to recognize that health problems are growing in the center of the city and that diseases can be treated before they appear, with good urban planning.


The New Urban Agenda states:

55. We commit ourselves to fostering healthy societies by promoting access to adequate, inclusive and quality public services, a clean environment, taking into consideration air quality guidelines, including those elaborated by the World Health Organization.
[…]


References

1 PAHO/WHO. (n.d.) Mortality in the Americas. Recovered from https://www.paho.org/salud-en-las-americas-2017/?tag=obesity

2 R. Ewing, T. Schmid, R. Killingsworth, A. Zlot, S. Raudenbush. (2003). Relationship Between Urban Sprawl and PhysicalActivity, Obesity, and Morbidity. American Journal of Health Promotion, Inc.

3 Marshall, A. (2016). The Complicated Problem of Urban Obesity. Citylab. Recovered from https://www.citylab.com/equity/2016/04/obesity-is-a-city-problem/476547/

4 J. Marzluff. (2008). Urban Ecology: An International Perspective on the Interaction Between Humans and Nature. Springer.


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The Agenda 2030 is integrated by 17 Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, which aim to achieve the well-being of humanity without leaving no one behind. Most SDG targets are connected in one way or another, and their implementation must be synchronized to achieve sustainable development at the local, national and global levels.

For example, SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities is linked to other Objectives, such as the end of poverty (1), health and well-being (3), education (4), gender equality (5), the reduction of inequalities (10), responsible consumption (12), climate action(13), among others.

How much do you know about sustainable development and cities?
Answer this online quiz and test your knowledge.


SDGs 1, 10 and 11


No poverty ( SDG 1 ) and reduced inequalities ( SDG 10 ) could not be solved without addressing the way cities are planned, built and managed. Select the correct answer for the following question.


SDGs 2 and 11


SDG 2 seeks for "end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture." What is the correct concept for the next paragraph?


SDGs 3 and 11

SDG 3 seeks to "guarantee a healthy life and promote well-being for all", however, a poorly planned city can generate an inadequate provision of health services or infrastructure or the emergence of precarious settlements that do not have these services.
Drag to the ODS3 those health and well-being problems that a bad urban design could cause.


SDGs 4, 8 and 11

SDG 4 seeks to "ensure inclusive, equitable and quality education" and SDG 8 "promotes economic growth and full, productive and decent employment for all". How do these Objectives are related to cities?


SDGs 5 and 11

SDG 5 seeks to "achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls." Answer true or false.


SDGs 6 and 11

SDG 6 seeks to "guarantee the availability of water, its sustainable management and sanitation for all". Choose the correct option.


SDGs 7, 9 and 11

"Affordable and non-polluting energy" ( SDG 7 ) and "sustainable industry and infrastructure" ( SDG 9 ) are essential to address the great challenges and opportunities that the world is facing. Identify and drag to planet earth those energies considered clean.


SDGs 11 and 12

"Responsible consumption" ( SDG 12 ) and effective waste management are essential to achieve healthy and competitive cities, which is why the 4Rs, "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Recover" are the cornerstone of the strategies of waste minimization.


SDGs 11, 13, 14 and 15

Underwater life ( SDG 14 ), terrestrial ecosystems ( SDG 15 ), and biodiversity are important for human life. To protect them is an action in favor of the environment ( SDG 13 ). Select the images that contribute to the conservation of the oceans and terrestrial ecosystems.


SDGs 11, 13, 14 and 15

Peace, justice and solid institutions ( SDG 16 ) will be achieved through alliances between different actors to achieve the Objectives (SDG 17 ).


How did the test go?

Surely well, in addition to having learned new things!

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Actualmente existe un creciente interés sobre como la inactividad física, la obesidad y los problemas de salud crónicos tienen una aparente estrecha relación con los factores urbanos. Los investigadores de la planificación urbana están ampliando sus horizontes y prestan mayor atención a cómo sus campos profesionales afectan el comportamiento y la salud humana.

Con información de ONU-Habitat

26 de febrero de 2019


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Los vínculos entre la actividad física y el cuidado de la salud son bien conocidos: La inactividad física contribuye a aumentar el riesgo de muchas enfermedades y afecciones crónicas, como la obesidad, la hipertensión, el diabetes, el cáncer de colon, la osteoartritis, la osteoporosis y las enfermedades coronarias. En muchas ciudades del mundo, la obesidad ha alcanzado proporciones epidémicas sin hacer distinciones de raza, edad o nivel socioeconómico.

"El envejecimiento, la globalización, la urbanización, el aumento de la obesidad y la inactividad física han convertido a las enfermedades cardiovasculares en la principal causa de muerte y discapacidad en América Latina , representando casi un tercio de la mortalidad regional, con un riesgo generalmente más alto en los hombres en comparación con las mujeres." Organización Mundial de la Salud1

Las implicaciones de la salud y su relación de “lugar” son de gran alcance

“Puede que no sea común considerar explícitamente la salud cuando se selecciona un lugar para vivir, pero las investigaciones indican que valdría la pena considerarlo.”

En un estudio exploratorio sobre salud y forma urbana, se hace visible una probable tendencia a que

Por el contrario, las ciudades compactas se asocian con niveles más bajos de obesidad, diabetes, presión arterial alta, enfermedades cardíacas y asma.

De acuerdo a expertos de la Organización Mundial de la Salud, (OMS) y ONU-Habitat, los problemas de salud urbana solo están creciendo, en parte porque las ciudades también están creciendo. La mitad de la población mundial vivirá en ciudades para 2050, y dos mil millones de ellos estarán en barrios marginales.

El panorama de la salud se vuelve mucho más complicado cuando los problemas de salud entre los habitantes urbanos se relacionan con la clase económica, en parte porque los barrios predominantemente pobres y minoritarios han quedado atrapados por decisiones de planificación urbana desastrosas que los mantiene aislados y lejanos de una adecuada infraestructura sanitaria.


Elige y arrastra al ODS3 aquellos problemas de salud y bienestar que un mal diseño urbano podría causar.


Una ciudad mal planeada no contribuye al bienestar y a la salud

El transporte deficiente y una dependencia excesiva del automóvil han hecho que las personas pasen más tiempo trasladándose. Así mismo, la disponibilidad de alimentos saludables está restringida por decisiones de planificación urbana deficientes y horarios de trabajo cada vez más largos que llevan a las personas a optar por dietas de alimentos de conveniencia con bajo nivel nutricional. La interacción de estos factores se refleja en las crecientes tasas de sobrepeso y obesidad, especialmente en las áreas urbanas.3


Puestos de comida callejeros en la CDMX.

9 de cada 10 personas en el mundo respiran aire contaminado

Paradójicamente, en muchas ciudades hay personas que aprovechen la densidad relativa de su ciudad para transportarse en bicicleta por considerarla una actividad saludable, sin embargo, la contaminación del aire influye negativamente en la salud. Es un ciclo de retroalimentación negativa: Una vez que haces ejercicio, aumentas tu frecuencia respiratoria, respiras más, más aire va a los pulmones y aumenta tu exposición a la contaminación del aire. 3

Muchas de las mega ciudades del mundo exceden en más de cinco veces los niveles de calidad del aire recomendados por la OMS.

¡Pero aún hay esperanza!

De acuerdo a las investigaciones disponibles de salud pública y planificación urbana, existe un apoyo moderado para la afirmación de que la forma urbana puede tener influencias significativas (positivas o negativas) en la salud.

Si esta afirmación es cierta, los profesionales de la salud pueden mejorar la salud pública al abogar por patrones de desarrollo más compactos. Los investigadores de la salud pueden refinar su comprensión de la actividad física, la obesidad y la morbilidad al incluir variables de formas urbanas en sus análisis.4

De igual forma, la clave para resolver todos estos problemas de salud urbana, es alejarse de los enfoques de políticas enfocadas a la atención médica orientada al tratamiento, que reconocen los problemas de salud solo después de que comienzan.

La buena noticia es que los urbanistas en el mundo empiezan a reconocer que los problemas de salud crecen en el centro de la ciudad y que la enfermedad puede tratarse antes de que esta aparezca, desde la buena planificación urbana.


El numeral No. 55 de la Nueva Agenda Urbana señala:

55.Nos comprometemos a fomentar sociedades saludables mediante la promoción del acceso a servicios públicos adecuados, inclusivos y de calidad, un medio ambiente limpio, teniendo en cuenta las directrices sobre la calidad del aire, incluidas las elaboradas por la Organización Mundial de la Salud..
[…]


Referencias

1 PAHO/WHO. (n.d.) Mortality in the Americas. Recuperado de https://www.paho.org/salud-en-las-americas-2017/?tag=obesity

2 R. Ewing, T. Schmid, R. Killingsworth, A. Zlot, S. Raudenbush. (2003). Relationship Between Urban Sprawl and PhysicalActivity, Obesity, and Morbidity. American Journal of Health Promotion, Inc.

3 Marshall, A. (2016). The Complicated Problem of Urban Obesity. Citylab. Recuperado de https://www.citylab.com/equity/2016/04/obesity-is-a-city-problem/476547/

4 J. Marzluff. (2008). Urban Ecology: An International Perspective on the Interaction Between Humans and Nature. Springer.


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The Under-Secretary and Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, visited Mexico to attend an urban agenda with different key actors of the country. Her stay in Mexico represented the first official visit of the Executive Director to Latin America.

November 12, 2018 | Share


The arrival

The Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, arrived to Mexico on the night of November 8, 2018, on her first official visit to the country.

UN Country Team meeting

On November 9, as the first activity of her agenda, she met with the representatives of the Agencies of the United Nations System in Mexico.

The interview

Later, Mrs. Sharif was interviewed by Blanche Petrich for the newspaper La Jornada.
Read the interview here (in spanish).

Forum of Mayors for the New Urban Agenda

Subsequently, Maimunah Mohd Sharif was at the Forum of Mayors for the New Urban Agenda to present, together with the President of Mexico and government officials, the results of the calculation of the City Prosperity Index, CPI, carried out in 305 cities in Mexico, what represents 90% of the country's urban population.

The Forum of Mayors ended with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Infonavit to update the measurement of the CPI in the municipalities of Mexico for the years 2021, 2024, 2027 and 2030.

Meeting with majors

After the Forum, Maimunah Mohd Sharif met with the attending mayors to whom she shared her experience as a former mayor of Penang Island. All the details of this meeting here (in spanish)

Majors listened to the Director Mohd Sharif and had the opportunity to express their questions about the different challenges that local governments face in their day to day affairs.

UN-Habitat Mexico Women's Team

To end the event, Ms. Sharif gather with the women's team of UN-Habitat Mexico.
I want my city with greater gender inclusion.

UNIAPRAVI meeting

During the afternoon of November 9, the Director of UN-Habitat met with Sebastián Fernández president of UNIAPRAVI to talk about the importance of the private sector in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.

FONATUR meeting

The Director of UN-Habitat also met with Rogelio Jiménez Pons, designated director of the National Fund for Tourism Promotion, FONATUR, for the new government administration. The reunion served to explore future territorial development opportunities associated with strategic projects in the southeast region.

Meeting with SEDATU

After that meeting, Ms. Sharif met with Román Meyer Falcón, designated Minister of the Secretariat of Agrarian, Territorial and Urban Development, Sedatu, for the new government administration. During the meeting they shared opinions on how effective actions in the territory can improve the lives of people living in cities. Learn more about this meeting (in spanish).

Visit to Mexico office

As final part of her mission, the Executive Director, Maimunah Mohd Sharif visited the UN-Habitat Mexico Office where she learned about the projects and the work that is taking place in the country.


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