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Reducing climate change is good for your health

7More ‘climate-friendly’ investments in transport, energy and housing could help prevent significant noncommunicable disease, WHO review finds

Washington, D.C., 14 June 2011 (PAHO/WHO)6Greener investments in transport, housing and household energy policies can help prevent significant cardiovascular and chronic respiratory disease, obesity-related conditions and cancers.

These are among the findings of 10a new global World Health Organization series that looks systematically, for the first time ever, at the health ‘co-benefits’ of investments in climate change mitigation reviewed by the lntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Overall, 4sustainable development policies in housing, transport, and household energy may benefit health right away – even if the broader climate gains are realized over years or decades.

5“Some climate change mitigation measures yield broader health gains than others,” says Dr Maria Neira, director of WHO’s Department of Public Health and Environment. “Potential health benefits – as well as certain risks – should be considered more systematically in climate assessments. And if that is done, we can identify strategies that are truly win-win.”

2Many forms of asthma and allergies, as well as heart disease and strokes related to increasingly intense heat waves and cold spells could be addressed by more climate-friendly housing measures, the report finds.

As 8other examples of ‘best buys’ for health, initial findings from reviews of other sectors identify considerable evidence that:

1Investments in, and use of, safe walking/cycling and public transport networks are strongly associated with more healthy physical activity, lower rates of premature mortality, and less obesity. However, the last IPCC report focuses on better fuels and engines as mitigation measures, giving little attention to the much wider benefits offered by policies that favour walking, cycling and public transport. This neglects the broader range of health and social benefits that can be derived from adopting more sustainable transport.

3Deaths of more than 1 million people annually from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) due to indoor air pollution from traditional biomass and coal-fired stoves are largely avoidable with more energy efficient stoves. An estimated 15% of this burden in Latin American and Sub-Saharan African could potentially be averted in less than a decade if more advanced biomass or biogas stoves were introduced at a pace compatible with UN targets for achieving universal access to modern energy services by the year 2030.

“This series explains why green housing and home energy, transport, and urban environments can improve our health – and why the health sector can prevent much disease, at very little cost, by advocating for healthier investments in some key sectors,” says WHO’s Dr Carlos Dora, an epidemiologist and coordinator of the series.

As much as 1180% of chronic disease is now occurring in lower income countries, where urban growth is driving rapid slum expansion, soaring traffic volumes, air and water pollution and rates of traffic injury.

9People really cannot make healthy lifestyle choices – unless they have a healthier environment,” Dora observes. “So we, as health professionals, need to promote basic environmental measures that cost the health sector very little, and can avoid many subsequent years of treatment. And these health savings can be captured immediately – while the climate benefits accumulate for the future.”

Glossário:

change – mudança

choice –escolha

disease – doença

finding – descoberta

gain – ganho

health – saúde

heart – coração

housing – habitação

income – renda

measure – medida

mitigation – redução

slum – favela

stove – fogão

yield – produzir, render

Fonte: Disponível em: . Acesso em: 10 jul. 2012.  

Considere os trechos a seguir.

I. “People really cannot make healthy lifestyle choices – unless they have a healthier environment” (ref. 9).
II. “a new global World Health Organization series that looks systematically” (ref. 10).
III. “80% of chronic disease is now occurring in lower income countries” (ref. 11).

Os segmentos sublinhados em I, II e III apresentam ideia de, respectivamente,

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