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Cities with more green areas benefit physical and mental health of population

Press Release

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Cities with more green areas benefit physical and mental health of population

On 30th and 31st October, international experts will gather in CosmoCaixa Barcelona organized by B·Debate and CREAL, an ISGlobal alliance research center, to establish links between research, public health practice and urban planning, as the only way to create healthy green areas for urban populations.

The need for these workshops comes from recent studies have shown that people in greener areas live longer, have less risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, mental health problems and adverse birth outcomes such as low birth weight, have better sleep patterns and recover better from illness. Furthermore it has been suggested that it reduces aggression and crime. Benefits appeared to be larger for more deprived neighbourhoods and women.

The meeting "Green Cities, Healthy People. Healthy Planning Urban Spaces" will be led by Prof. Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, coordinator of the CREAL program of air pollution and coordinator of the European project PHENOTYPE.

During the last decade it has seen a renewed interest in urban solutions that answer to health problems. This is due in large part to the growing concerns for society sensitive issues such as obesity, physical inactivity, pollution and climate change. Physical inactivity is one of the major health problems of the twenty-first century due to its influence on chronic disease more deadly. In fact, according to WHO, physical inactivity is responsible for the deaths of 3.2 million people annually and has a great influence on the chronic diseases and mortality, contributing to 21.5 % of ischemic heart disease, 14 % of cases of diabetes, 16% of colon cancers and 10% of breast cancers. Besides stress and air and noise pollution are increasingly important factors in the study of diseases.

According to WHO, it is estimated that by 2030, 60% of the world population will live in urban areas with urban planning needs that this implies.

B·Debate International Center for Scientific Debate is an initiative of Biocat and Obra Social "la Caixa" in order to find answers and solutions to social challenges and needs in the field of life sciences by holding meetings international high scientific level.

CREAL (Centre for Research in Environmental is the coordinator of the project PHENOTYPE (, funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union, which aims to assess and identify measures to determine the ability of public green spaces to address health problems of the population of both urban and rural areas.


Communications Manager:
Raül Toran

(+34) 93 214 73 33
(+34) 696 912 841


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