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global briefs


Urban Trees City Greenery Boosts Public Health


Urban trees help reduce obesity and depression, improve productivity, boost educational outcomes and reduce incidences of asthma and heart disease for residents, yet according to The Nature Conservancy, Ameri- can cities spend less than a third of 1 percent of municipal budgets on tree planting and maintenance. As a result,


U.S. cities are losing 4 million trees per year.


Each summer, thousands of unnecessary deaths result from heat waves in urban areas. Studies have shown that trees are a cost-effective solution. Too often, the presence or absence of urban nature and its associated benefits is tied to a neighborhood’s income level, resulting in dramatic health inequities. In some American cities, life expectancies in different neighborhoods located just a few miles apart can differ by as much as a decade. Not all of this health disparity is connected to the tree cover, but researchers are increasingly finding that neigh- borhoods with fewer trees have worse health outcomes, so inequality in access to urban nature can lead to worse health inequities.


To read the white paper, visit Tinyurl.com/FundingTreesForHealth. Veggie Doctors


Cardiologists Urge Plant-Based Hospital Meals The American College of Cardiology (ACC) is advising hospitals in improving patient menus by adding healthy, plant-based options and removing processed meats, which have been linked to 60,000 cardiovascular deaths annually. The ACC Heart-Healthy Food Recommendations for Hospitals states, “At least one plant-based main dish should be offered and promoted at every meal.” ACC also urges that processed meats such as bacon, sausage, ham, hot dogs and deli meats should not be offered at all. These guidelines extend to hospital cafeterias and onsite restaurants.


The American Medical Association has also passed a resolution that calls on hospitals to provide similarly healthy meals. Processed meats are now considered carcinogenic to humans, according to the World Health Organization. A 50-gram serving a day— one hot dog or two strips of bacon—increases colorectal cancer risk by 18 percent. “Too many heart disease patients have had their recovery undermined by bacon and hot dogs on their hospital trays,” says Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the nonprofit Physicians Committee.


January 2018 13


Cigarette Cutback


Higher Prices Lower Use Research from the Medical Univer- sity of Vienna found in a 30-year study that increasing prices for tobacco products by 5 percent re- duced tobacco use by 3.5 percent.


Gods_Kings/Shutterstock.com


LilKar/Shutterstock.com


puhhha/Shutterstock.com


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