Preventive Medicine | VOL. 145
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A call to action: Improving urban green spaces to reduce health inequalities exacerbated by COVID-19

Publication Date Apr 1, 2021

Abstract

Health is not equally distributed across society; there are avoidable, unfair, systematic differences in health between population groups. Some of these same groups (older people, BAME communities, those with some non-communicable diseases (NCDs)) may be particularly vulnerable to risk of exposure and severe COVID-19 outcomes due to co-morbidities, structural vulnerabilities, and public-facing or health and social care jobs among other factors. Additionally, some of the restrictions designed to reduce SARS-CoV-2 spread impact specifically on these same groups by limiting their activity and access to preventive or health promotion services. Greenspaces, accessed with social distancing, may mitigate some of the predicted negative health effects of COVID-19 restrictions. Maintaining or increasing publicly accessible urban greenspaces, particularly for marginalised groups, is reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals, and its importance amplified in the COVID-19 pandemic. Urban greenspaces should be considered a public health and social investment and a chance to rebalance our relationship with nature to protect against future pandemics. By investing in urban public greenspaces, additional benefits (job/food creation, biodiversity promotion, carbon sequestration) may coincide with health benefits. Realising these requires a shift in the balance of decision making to place weight on protecting, enhancing and providing more appropriate greenspaces designed with local communities. The current pandemic is a reminder that humani...

Concepts

Urban Greenspaces Urban Public Greenspaces BAME Communities Health Promotion Services Tackle Climate Change Sustainable Development Goals Future Pandemics Social Investment Structural Vulnerabilities Current Pandemic

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No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors. The conception and design of the study, acquisition of data, analysis and interpretatio...

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