In the cities of the world, the health challenge is twofold: Firstly, living conditions in slum areas are poor, both with respect to water and sanitation, and access to health care almost non existent. In addition, life in urban areas often entails a shift toward 'modern' life styles, with inadequate nutrition, especially more fatty, salty foods, smoking, alcohol and lack of exercise - all primers for NCDs.
Secondly, when the young newcomers become parents, their own poor health will have influenced the unborn child's predisposition for NCDs.
"Increasing numbers of studies show, that healthy ageing begins in the womb," Siri Tellier continues, and explains that if - for example - children are born with low birth weight, they are more likely to develop diabetes later in life
"Our new world citizen nr. 7 billion will probably grow up in an urban setting, and will face factors that increase his or her risk of diabetes, as well as COPD, cancer and heart disease.
"There is also an increasing awareness of the need to help even healthy, young people gain the habits which will predispose them for health in later life. Parents may have a hard time ensuring that their teenagers develops healthy habits, which will follow him or her throughout life, especially if a lack og these habits do not cause ill health immediately," Siri Tellier points out.
"Of course, the good news is that the child is less likely to die from measles, or even AIDS or diarrhoeal diseases. We have reduced the number of child deaths from around 12 million in 1990 to less than 8 million today, and most of the saved lives are through prevention measures such as vaccinations against infectious diseases. That is not o
|Contact: Siri Tellier|
University of Copenhagen