Cities no longer guarantee of better health for young people

Young people growing up in Western cities no longer have an advantage over their counterparts living in the countryside, according to an international studypublished in the Nature journal and coordinated by Imperial College London.

Until recently, data have consistently indicated that girls and boys between 5 and 19 raised in cities have key parameters such as height or body mass indicator associated with better overall health than that of their rural peers. For example, data on 71 million young people in 200 countries show that until 1990, children and adolescents living in cities were taller than their rural counterparts in almost every country in the world.

However, according to the 1,500 researchers, since the start of this century this trend has been reversed in many areas. Cities, however, continue to offer advantages – albeit of a reduced nature - in most countries in sub-Saharan Africa and in some countries in the Pacific, South Asia South and the Middle East.

In Italy, the universities of Padua and Ferrara, the Italian National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA) and the National Research Council (CNR) took part in the study.

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