Urban metropolises pose health risks

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Metropolises with millions of inhabitants harbor health risks

The World Health Day of the World Health Organization (WHO), which has been taking place every year on April 7th since 1954, this year deals with the health of people in mega-metropolises - because in cities like Tokyo or Mexico City, each with a population of over 8 million, there is one extensive medical infrastructure, but many people in this metropolis have health problems. If you follow the information from the United Nations, there is an urgent need for action, after all, more than half of all people already live in cities and in Germany, too, there are fewer and fewer people who still live in the countryside: in 1950, 68% of them were German city dwellers, in 2020 it should be 76% according to the forecasts of the United Nations. With the increasing population density, however, the risk of adverse health effects from contagious diseases and environmental pollution also increases.

In order to bring this topic to the public, actions were carried out on Wednesday in Hamburg, Cologne and Frankfurt an der Oder as well as in a total of 1000 cities around the world under the motto "1,000 Cities - 1,000 Lives" - with the common goal of covering them to explain how a healthy life in the big city can be possible. E.g. Hamburg presented a project under the title "Promote neighborhoods - for a healthy city" to further strengthen and improve living conditions. According to the Federal Association for Prevention and Health Promotion, there is a need for further action and so other places should follow and deal with this topic in lectures. The fact that a big city life can have a negative impact on the health of its residents is no longer a new finding in Germany and has been taken seriously for years: The "Socially Integrative City" program has been running since 1999, through which the federal and state governments provide financial support to districts with special development needs. In 2003, the nationwide cooperation association "Health Promotion for the Socially Disadvantaged" was founded, and the Federal Association for Prevention and Health Promotion itself, together with the nationwide network "Healthy Cities" and the German Association of Cities, organizes several campaigns as part of World Health Day.

According to the SPD health expert Mechthild Rawert, this commitment by the Federal Prevention Association is praiseworthy, but the actions of the Federal Ministry of Health left something to be desired, as this year, for the first time since 1954, there was neither an action supported by the Ministry, nor a press conference or an official motto and black and yellow also act counterproductive by vehemently opposing a prevention law.

In connection with the promotion of a healthy life in the cities, the German Professional Association for Nursing Professions (DBfK) also made it clear how important it is that municipalities and cities ensure the health promotion of their residents at all ages: Whether too little exercise for the Smallest, excessive alcohol consumption among adolescents or lack of social contacts among the elderly - in any case, offers must be created that enable and support a healthy life. (sb, 07.04.2010)

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