HUMAN beings are being urged to appreciate the potential role of our natural environment in helping us stay healthy and live for longer.
A conference entitled Delivering Health Through The Environment is taking place in Belfast on November 24, bringing together experts from the environmental and health sectors to discuss how they could work together to help save lives and save taxpayers’ money.
Figures in the 2013/14 Health Survey Northern Ireland report revealed that the number of obese and overweight adults in the north had increased to 63 per cent, compared to 59 per cent in 2010/11.
A total of 73 per cent of participants in the survey admitted they felt there was something they could do to make their life healthier, including eating more healthily and being more physically active. Respondents felt that by reducing the amount of stress in their lives and controlling their weight their lives would be healthier.
Separately, mental health statistics for the north show that 250,000 adults and 45,000 children and young people have a mental health need at some point – that is one sixth of the 1.8 million population. Refine NI has said that the rates of depression in Northern Ireland “are associated closely with unemployment, low educational achievement and social deprivation”.
There is no quick-fix or cure-all solution to the numerous factors that affect people’s mental and physical wellbeing but there is an increasing awareness that the environment or natural world can play a role both…
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