Birmingham joins Partnership for Health Cities

Encouraging people to be more active
Published: Monday, 16th December 2019

Birmingham City Council announces new plans to increase safe and active mobility for all citizens as part of a global network of cities

Birmingham has joined the Partnership for Healthy Cities, a prestigious global network of 70 cities committed to saving lives by preventing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) — such as cancer or diabetes — and injuries.

Cllr Paulette Hamilton, cabinet member for health and social care at Birmingham City Council, said: “We’re proud to join this prominent group of cities working to ensure longer, fuller lives for their residents.

“In Birmingham we are reflecting our global city by focusing on how we can encourage our ethnically diverse citizens to shift everyday short trips from cars to foot, bicycle or public transport. Moving away from the car is not just good for health, it’s also good for the environment, and one of the small steps we can all make to improve the city.”

The city has 571 parks; more green space than any other European city, and 35 miles of waterways; more miles of canals than Venice. To walk one mile in Birmingham takes approximately only 20 minutes, and to cycle one mile can take only six minutes. Daily walks could increase our productivity by 30%. Over 50% of Birmingham residents would like to cycle more. The Birmingham Cycle Revolution improved walking and cycling routes, including 30 miles of towpaths and 20 miles of green routes.

However, 24.5% of our adults aren’t even walking for 10 minutes or doing any cycling per month, 25.4% of our adults aren’t currently physically active and 25% of daily car trips in Birmingham are less than one mile. Only 6% of people in Birmingham currently walk to work. Only 1% of people in Birmingham currently cycle to work. Every year, 900 adult deaths are linked to Birmingham’s polluted air.

NCDs and injuries are responsible for eight in 10 deaths globally. The additional cost per person to implement key NCD policies in low- and lower-middle-income cities between now and 2030 is just $1.27, while road traffic injuries already cost most countries 3% of their gross domestic product. Through this Partnership, cities commit to one of 14 interventions that address the risk factors that cause NCDs and injuries, such as implementing smoke-free laws that protect residents from secondhand smoke, restricting sugary drink and junk food advertising or creating safe urban cycling routes.

“Congratulations Birmingham. The road to a healthier world runs through cities. Most of the world now lives in urban areas, and cities can rapidly implement meaningful policies,” said Dr. Kelly Henning, who leads the public health programme at Bloomberg Philanthropies.

“The Partnership for Healthy Cities unites mayors who are committed to action. With the Partnership’s expansion to 70 cities, collectively we are preventing millions of needless deaths from NCDs and injuries and protecting the health of generations to come.”

The Partnership for Healthy Cities is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Vital Strategies. It recognizes the critical role cities play in effectively implementing evidence-based interventions to prevent NCDs and injuries. Partnership cities have made important strides to build healthier and safer environments. For example, Quito, Ecuador replaced junk food with healthy options for 50% of public schools students—expanding to 100% next year. In Accra, Ghana, a series of infrastructure changes at a major highway crossing with the highest rate of road crashes and fatalities in the city led to a nearly 35% reduction in serious injuries at the site.

For more information on the Partnership for Healthy Cities and to view the full list of 14 interventions, visit: 

About The Partnership for Healthy Cities:

The Partnership for Healthy Cities is a prestigious global network of cities committed to saving lives by preventing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and injuries. Supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as Vital Strategies, this initiative enables cities around the world to deliver a high-impact policy or programmatic intervention to reduce risk factors in their communities. For more information, visit: 


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