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15 actions to improve health in cities

"We must all understand that a big change is needed: climate change caused by human action is not an invention, but a reality that affects our health and that of our children. to make this change, otherwise the risk is to leave the next generations of cities and a planet in worse conditions than those left by our fathers ".

These are the words of the Health Minister, Beatrice Lorenzin, who intervened in Rome on December 11th at the international conference 'Health in The Cities', the last stage of the Italian presidency of the G7, for the Health sector.

During the conference, Minister Lorenzin signed an agreement with the "Urban Health Rome Declaration" with the Municipalities of ANCI for 15 concrete actions in favor of sustainable health in cities.

These are 15 actions "born - Lorenzin explained - from the Italian-led G7, to improve the health of our cities, from monitoring pollution systems to reducing pollutants in cities, but also to transforming metropolises into real 'living organisms', sustainable from an ecological and environmental point of view, neutral cities from an energetic point of view, able to promote the health of citizens in all fields, from the air you breathe to the food you eat. transform and accompany demographic development: a city for children, a city for old people ".

"We must understand - concluded the Minister - that environment and health are the same thing now".

These are the 15 actions of the 'URBAN HEALTH ROME DECLARATION, in line with the WHO recommendations to improve health in cities:

1. Recognizes every citizen the right to a healthy and integrated life in their urban context and the health of citizens as the fulcrum of all urban policies.

2. Emphasizes that administrations must engage in promoting the health of citizens, studying and monitoring the specific health determinants of their urban context, leveraging the strengths of cities and drastically reducing health risks.

3. Invites the Health Institutions and the Mayors to ensure a high level of literacy (Health Literacy) and accessibility to health information for all citizens, increasing the degree of self-awareness.

4. Points out the need to include health education in all school programs, with particular reference to health risks in the urban context.

5. Encourages to implement strategies to ensure the promotion of healthy lifestyles in schools, universities, workplaces, large communities and families.

6. Proposes the implementation of incentive policies aimed at socially responsible companies that invest in safety and prevention and promote health in the workplace.

7. Calls for the promotion of an appropriate food culture, through targeted dietary programs, preventing obesity, cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.

8. Encourages the creation of local initiatives to promote citizens' accession to primary prevention programs, with particular reference to chronic, transmissible and non-communicable diseases.

9. Draws attention to the need to expand and improve access to sports and motor skills for all citizens, encouraging the psychophysical development of young people and active aging.

10. Welcomes and encourages the sharing of good practices at local level, such as the creation of cycle-pedestrian routes for running and walking activities, and the use of public green spaces equipped as "open-air gyms".

11. Urges local governments to develop local urban transport policies geared towards environmental sustainability and the creation of a healthy life.

12. Stresses the urgency of acting directly on environmental and climate factors to reduce the risks associated with the development of air and environmental pollution-related diseases.

13. Reiterates the need to consider the health of the weakest and most vulnerable groups, as a priority for social inclusion in the urban context. 14. Desires a strong alliance between Municipalities, Universities, Health Centers, Research Centers, Industry and Professionals to study and monitor the determinants of citizens' health at an urban level.

15. Suggests the creation of the Health City Manager, able to guide the process of health improvement in urban areas, in synergy with local and health administrations.