On 7th April 2022, the World Health Organization celebrated World Health Day. The theme changes every year to highlight a new public health issue, and this year’s theme was “Our Planet, our Health” to raise awareness of the ways in which climate change and health are closely interlinked. This WHO campaign is in line with the One Health approach, which is also emphasized by the European Commission. This approach promotes cross-sectoral cooperation to achieve better public health outcomes and recognizes that human health is tightly connected to the environment.
Each year, more than 13 million deaths globally, including 1.4 million in Europe, are caused by avoidable environmental factors. Climate change, air pollution, exposure to chemicals and unsafe urban environments are indeed the biggest health threat facing humanity and are risk factors to several non-communicable diseases. WHO is therefore committed to take actions to keep the planet healthy, and to foster a movement to create societies focused on well-being.
Active mobility can contribute to mitigating the effects of climate change, while increasing physical activity levels. Simple changes such as biking or walking rather than taking one’s car, can help to reduce urban pollution, while enabling individuals to move more in their daily lives. As a reminder, WHO recommends adults to do at least 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity on a weekly basis.