Urban health challenges and the ageing population

June 9th 2014

Adam Reekie

Adam Reekie

In 2010 there was a demographical shift whereby, for the first time in history, the percentage of people living in an urban environment was greater than the percentage of people living in a rural one. The health of these people is one of great importance as the health inequalities for urban residents are much more extreme than those living in the country. This is due to wider socioeconomic determinants affecting the education and income opportunities of urban communities, which lead to the urban poor typically living in polluted and isolated areas.

These problems and disadvantages have a particularly magnified effect on the ageing populations living in urban areas. The number of over 75s is set to triple worldwide in the next 40 years which means there will be a massive increase in people more susceptible to infectious diseases (such as HIV/AIDS, TB and pneumonia), non-communicable diseases (such as asthma, heart disease, cancer and diabetes) and, violence and injury (including road traffic accidents) – all dangers that are worsened further by living in a city.

That is why it’s now imperative to implement a generic health and well being toolkit to make sure that the ageing are looked after properly in the key areas of their lives; this is where Urban Health Centre 2.0 (UHC 2.0) comes in.

This new EU grant – which focuses on impacts of healthy ageing, such as frailty, integrated care pathways, polypharmacy and the prevention of falls – will be a three year project involving institutions in five European cities including: Manchester, United Kingdom; Rijeka, Croatia; Pallini, Greece; Valencia, Spain and the principal investigators in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

The organisation overseeing the research in Manchester will be the Manchester Urban Collaboration on Health (MUCH) the University of Manchester’s Urban Health department. Their Director, Dr Arpana Verma says: ‘we’re very excited about being the first pilot centre in Manchester, helping us make a difference to the lives of people across other major cities in Europe. Manchester City Council with their partners, the University of Manchester and Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Aging are already making noticeable differences, we hope UHC2.0 will augment these activities for the benefit of generations to come’.

UHC 2.0 will also be one of the key areas of discussion at the forthcoming Festival of Public Health UK – along with other major topics in health care – which is currently being organised by the MUCH team.

Taking place at the University of Manchester on Tuesday 1 July and following on from two very successful festivals in 2012 and 2013, the Festival of Public Health UK returns this year with talks from some of the most influential people in healthcare, including Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Professor John Ashton and Professor Martin McKee. For more details on all the keynote speakers and to register visit our website and don’t forget to follow us on twitter @FestivalofPHUK.

Adam Reekie started as a Research Assistant in early 2013 with a strong background in policy making and a particular interest in Law and how policy affects the healthcare system. Adam focused his interest within the Manchester Urban Collaboration on Health (MUCH) department and has since facilitated national policy maker interviews to establish changes within the NHS and the emergence of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). His future interests lie in promoting the public health theme through conferences and will be taking the reins on all the digital marketing and social media within the MUCH team as well as playing key roles in upcoming European Commission research projects.


2 Responses to “Urban health challenges and the ageing population”

  1. Andrew

    Why does age make you more susceptible to HIV? Once an
    elderly person has been infected with HIV then they would be more susceptible
    to AIDS associated illness, but there is no evidence to say that age is a risk
    factor in contracting the virus in the first place.

    • Adam Reekie

      This is completely true, I didn’t mean that to be in there. Thanks for pointing it out.


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