World Health Day 2022

Today, April 7th, is World Health Day.

This year, the World Health Organization (WHO) stresses the importance of taking urgent action to keep humans and the planet healthy.

World Health Day 2022 focuses on the impact of the link between the health of the planet and the health of humans. The WHO estimates that, every year, more than 13 million deaths occur worldwide due to preventable environmental causes, with climate change at the forefront.

Scientific research is essential to find solutions to trigger the necessary changes that will help us live in a cleaner, safer, and healthier world. Over the years, the Instituto de Saúde Pública da Universidade do Porto (ISPUP) has, in countless ways, contributed to the production of knowledge in the area of environmental health.

We present some of the published articles:

– Residential and school green and blue spaces and intelligence in children: The Generation XXI birth cohort

In this study, the authors assessed whether there was a relationship between proximity to green and blue spaces (sea and rivers) and the cognitive performance of children at 10 years of age. A total of 3827 Portuguese children living in the Metropolitan Area of Porto and participating in the ISPUP cohort, Generation XXI, were surveyed.

– Neighbourhood green and blue spaces and allergic sensitization in children: A longitudinal study based on repeated measures from the Generation XXI cohort

This study assessed whether children who had always lived in areas with a greater amount of vegetation or close to rivers or the sea had, at the age of 10, less allergic sensitisation – an outcome strongly associated with the development of allergic and respiratory diseases. The research involved 730 Portuguese children, resident in the Metropolitan Area of Porto, and participants in the ISPUP cohort, Generation XXI

The neighbourhood natural environment is associated with asthma in children: a birth cohort study

In this study, the ISPUP researchers sought to assess the effect of early exposure to green spaces and species richness in urban habitats on the development of allergic diseases and asthma in children. A sample of 1050 children from the Municipality of Porto, belonging to the longitudinal study Generation XXI.

Exposure to nature and mental health outcomes during COVID-19 lockdown. A comparison between Portugal and Spain

This research sought to investigate whether contact with natural spaces was an important factor for the mental health of Portuguese and Spanish citizens during the first lockdown, motivated by the COVID-19 pandemic. To carry out the study, the researchers sent out an online survey to more than 3,000 individuals (1638 Portuguese and 1519 Spanish).

Association between neighbourhood green space and biological markers in school-aged children. Findings from the Generation XXI birth cohort

In this study, the researchers analysed the impact of exposure to green areas in eight biological markers of physiological dysregulation in about 3100 children, aged 7 years old, belonging to the ISPUP longitudinal study Generation XXI.

Socioeconomic Inequalities in Green Space Quality and Accessibility-Evidence from a Southern European City

In this article, the authors intended to investigate if the green spaces in the Porto municipality were equally distributed throughout the city. For this, the authors made a survey of public green spaces and open access spaces in the municipality and evaluated the quality of these areas.

Effects of Indoor Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals on Childhood Rhinitis

This paper studied the impact of exposure to endocrine disruptors on children’s respiratory health, specifically assessing the effect of exposure to these chemicals on the development of allergic rhinitis, one of the risk factors for the occurrence of asthma. The research evaluated 845 children from 20 schools in the city of Porto, attending the 3rd and 4th school years, through a self-administered questionnaire and a clinical and physical evaluation performed by the researchers.

The burden of heat-related mortality attributable to recent human-induced climate change

In this international study, the researchers used empirical data from 732 cities in 43 countries to estimate the impact of additional heat exposure resulting from human-induced climate change on mortality during the period between 1991 and 2018. The aim of the research was to investigate whether heat-related deaths during the hot season could be attributed to anthropogenic climate change.

Population exposure to particulate-matter and related mortality due to the Portuguese wildfires in October 2017 driven by storm Ophelia

In this study, carried out during the 2017 forest fire season, aggravated by the passage of storm Ophelia in Portugal, ISPUP researchers studied the trajectory of particulate matter resulting from the fires, in order to find out whether it reached more distant countries. They also tried to understand if the mortality of the Portuguese population had suffered a variation throughout the month of October due to the particles that resulted from the forest fires and the dust from the Sahara Desert.

Assessment of indoor air exposure among newborns and their mothers: Levels and sources of PM10, PM2.5 and ultrafine particles at 65 home environments

This study, conducted within the international NeoGene project: Impact of transplacental exposure to tobacco smoke on newborn DNA. Assessment of genetic damage and epigenetic changes, assessed the levels of ultrafine particles, PM2.5 e PM10, in the indoor air and outdoor surroundings of 65 homes in the Metropolitan Area of Porto, in the years 2018 and 2019, identifying the characteristics of the buildings and the main sources of pollution.

Assessment of indoor air exposure at residential homes: Inhalation dose and lung deposition of PM10, PM2.5 and ultrafine particles among newborn children and their mothers

In this investigation, the lung deposition of ultrafine particles, PM2.5 e PM10, was simulated in the lungs of women and newborn children living in houses in the Metropolitan Area of Porto.

Association between the density and type of trees around urban schools and exhaled nitric oxide levels in school children

In this article, the authors studied whether the type of trees around schools affected airway inflammation in children, which is associated with symptoms such as difficulty breathing, dry cough and wheezing.  

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