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Unhealthy in urban India UPSC NOTE

 Health risks faced by India’s urban population

  • India’s urban inhabitants experience multi-scalar health risks.

  • It includes the world’s highest levels of air and noise pollution, limited greenery, lack of access to sidewalks and parks that limit active lifestyles

  • In addition to, pernicious access to nutritionally dense unhealthy foods and unprecedented exposure to toxic chemicals and heavy metals. 

  • This concatenation of exposures dramatically magnifies health risks for heart disease and diabetes, referred to as cardiometabolic disease.

Health risks faced by India’s urban population

  • The cities of India are amidst an epidemic of historic proportions in these disorders.

  • Globally, there are seven key physical provisioning systems that provide food, energy, mobility-transportation, housing, green infrastructure, water and waste management that lie at the core of human health, well-being, equity and sustainability. 

  • Dysfunctional provisioning systems consume more than 90% of the world’s water and global CO2 emissions and facilitate an estimated 19 million premature deaths annually. 


Health risks faced by India’s urban population

  • The socio-spatial-political design of urban provisioning systems in India.

  • These are legacies of a colonial past, manifests in and exacerbates social inequalities in cities, by class, race, age, migrant and disability status.

  • These will  translate to vast disparities in health risks and outcomes. 

  • A new narrative for improving health and well-being in cities is needed. 

  • This is reflected in several high-level policy frameworks, such as the United Nations SDG framework, the New Urban Agenda, and the Health in All Policies approach.


Holistic approach to address these challenges

  • Studies that have modelled the economic and health impact of the clean energy transition in the transportation sector.

  • Ensuring that the transition to electric cars also paves the way for active transport options. 

  • Walking paths and bicycling lanes  connect the the health and consequent economic benefits of active transportation.

  • On top of the benefits of reducing air pollution, making such investments even more economically viable.

  • Thus, increasing active transportation by any means must be a critical component of a clean energy policy. 

  • Policies that encourage fresh fruits and vegetables and limit sugars and salt in beverages.

  • Which may have the largest impact on health outcomes such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes (T2D) and cardiovascular disease.

  • Urban policies are powerful public health interventions that can serve to promote population health. 


  • Health is, unfortunately, an afterthought in most national urban planning policies.

  • Mostly non-existent in national urban policy documents from lower and middle-income countries.

  • Unhealthy diets, reduced physical activity and air pollution in cities in India pose a greater risk to morbidity and mortality. 

  • These need to be dealt with on a war footing if India is going to make progress in its fight against cardiovascular disease, obesity and T2D. 


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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Unhealthy in urban India UPSC NOTE
Unhealthy in urban India UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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