Health and environment link vital in planning urban centres

NEW research linking the environment to population health has sparked fresh calls for policy makers to pay greater consideration when planning living environments and communities.

A new report, released last week by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, examined 15 environmental factors resulting from the natural and built environment including temperature, ‘walkability’, air quality, water fluoridation, green space, housing and food and water safety.

The report found a growing awareness that humans’ influence on the environment played a vital role in exacerbating or reducing health risks.

Doctors for the Environment Australia spokesman Dr Graeme Horton said it was important for governments to be aware of the need to protect the natural environment while shaping the built environment to best suit a healthy lifestyle.

“The good health of people is fundamentally impacted by the health of our ecosystems,