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20% of all deaths could be prevented if cities were better designed

By 2050, it is projected that almost 70% of the world’s population will be living in cities, up from 55% today. The fastest urban growth is happening in Asia and Africa, which is also where we’re seeing a rapid rise in people suffering from, and dying of, heart disease.

The impact of noncommunicable diseases on the world population’s health is growing. Noncommunicable diseases are those that are not directly transmissible from one person to another. By 2030, scientists predict they will account for 77% of the global burden of disease. Cardiovascular or heart disease is the most common type, responsible for 44% of all deaths related to this category.

New research from the University Medical Center in Mainz, Germany, explores how urbanization exacerbates the risks of such diseases. Young people are increasingly concentrated in the world’s cities. Their future health is at risk. Can city planning be harnessed to protect their health?

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