Why urban health matters

World Health Day 2010

April 2010

A bustling city market stall selling vegetables.
WHO/Lori Sloate

For the first time, the majority of human beings are living in urban areas. This trend will continue with six in 10 people living in towns and cities by 2030.

Urban areas provide great opportunities for individuals and families to prosper and can provide a healthy living environment through enhanced access to services, culture and recreation. These positive aspects of city life attract people to come to and stay in urban areas.

Yet, when looking beyond the bustling marketplaces, skyscrapers and big city lights, today’s cities all too often put human health at risk. City dwellers continue to face health hazards and new health challenges have emerged.

This photo essay highlights some of the key health issues related to urbanization and five WHO-recommended, calls to action to build a healthy and safe urban environment.

Read the photo story

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