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Clin Transl Allergy. 2019 Oct 30;9:57. doi: 10.1186/s13601-019-0295-2. eCollection 2019.

Helsinki by nature: The Nature Step to Respiratory Health.

Author information

1
1Skin and Allergy Hospital, Helsinki University Hospital, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
2
2Department of Dermatology, Allergology and Venereology, Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.
3
ISGlobAL, Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain.
4
Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai Respiratory Research Institute, Shanghai, China.
5
EuroAsian Respiratory Society, Astana City, Kazakhstan.
6
6Department of Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.
7
7Dept. of Pulmonary Medicine, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh, India.
8
Department of Respiratory Medicine, National Institute of Diseases of the Chest and Hospital, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
9
9Department of Pediatrics, Medical School, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
10
10Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.
11
11Life and Health Sciences Research Institute, ICVS, School of Medicine, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal.
12
12ProAR - Nucleo de Excelencia em Asma, Federal University of Bahia, Vitória Da Conquista, Brazil.
13
Hospital Dr Agostinho Neto, Praia, Cabo Verde.
14
14National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Helsinki, Finland.
15
15Environmental Policy Centre, Finnish Environment Institute, Helsinki, Finland.
16
16Department of Pulmonary Diseases, Cerrahpasa Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul University-Cerrahpasa, Istanbul, Turkey.
17
Hospital Universitario y Facultad de Medicina, Monterrey Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
18
18Laboratory of Clinical Immunology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, KU Leuven, Louvain, Belgium.
19
Global Alliance Against Chronic Respiratory Diseases (GARD), Geneva, Switzerland.
20
20Department of Respiratory Diseases and Tuberculosis, University Hospital Olomouc, Olomouc, Czech Republic.
21
21Division of Internal Medicine, Asthma and Allergy, Barlicki University Hospital, Medical University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland.
22
22Istituto per la Ricerca e l'Innovazione Biomedica (IRIB), Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Palermo, Italy.
23
Respiratory Care Center, University Medical Center, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
24
24Pulmonology Department, Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Chapidze Emergency Cardiology Center, Tbilisi, Georgia.
25
25Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
26
National Institute of Pneumology M. Nasta, Bucharest, Romania.
27
27National Center for Research in Chronic Respiratory Diseases, Tishreen University School of Medicine, Latakia, Syria.
28
28Pulmonology Department, Maputo Central Hospital, Maputo, Mozambique.
29
29FILHA, Finnish Lung Health Association, Helsinki, Finland.
30
Hispanic American Allergy Asthma & Immunology Association, Marina Del Rey, California USA.
31
31Immunoallergology Department, Hospital da Luz Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal.
32
32Division of Allergology & Respiratory Medicine, Showa University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.
33
33Department of Prevention of Environmental Hazards and Allergology, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland.
34
34Department of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, USA.
35
Kyrgyzstan National Centre of Cardiology and Internal Medicine, Euro-Asian Respiratory Society, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
36
36Department of Thoracic Diseases, Ain Shams Faculty of Medicine, Abbassia, Cairo, Egypt.
37
37The Hospital for Sick Children, Research Institute and Della Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON Canada.
38
38Clinic of Children's Diseases, Institute of Clinical Medicine, and Department of Public Health, Institute of Health Sciences, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania.
39
39Management of NCDs, WHO, Geneva, Switzerland.
40
40Istituto di Fisiologia Clinica CNR, Pisa, Italy.
41
Allergy & Asthma Network, Vienna, VA USA.
42
Global Allergy & Asthma Patient Platform, Vienna, Austria.
43
Investigaciones en Alergia y Enfermedades Respiratorias (INAER), Buenos Aires, Argentina.
44
44Department of Pulmonary Diseases, Faculty of Medicine, Celal Bayar University, Manisa, Turkey.
45
The Allergy and Asthma Institute, Islamabad, Pakistan.
46
MACVIA-France, Fondation Partenariale FMC VIA-LR, CHRU Arnaud de Villeneuve, Montpellier, France.
47
Global Alliance Against Respiratory Diseases (GARD), Helsinki, Finland.

Abstract

Background:

The Nature Step to Respiratory Health was the overarching theme of the 12th General Meeting of the Global Alliance against Chronic Respiratory Diseases (GARD) in Helsinki, August 2018. New approaches are needed to improve respiratory health and reduce premature mortality of chronic diseases by 30% till 2030 (UN Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs). Planetary health is defined as the health of human civilization and the state of the natural systems on which it depends. Planetary health and human health are interconnected, and both need to be considered by individuals and governments while addressing several SDGs.

Results:

The concept of the Nature Step has evolved from innovative research indicating, how changed lifestyle in urban surroundings reduces contact with biodiverse environments, impoverishes microbiota, affects immune regulation and increases risk of NCDs. The Nature Step calls for strengthening connections to nature. Physical activity in natural environments should be promoted, use of fresh vegetables, fruits and water increased, and consumption of sugary drinks, tobacco and alcohol restricted. Nature relatedness should be part of everyday life and especially emphasized in the care of children and the elderly. Taking "nature" to modern cities in a controlled way is possible but a challenge for urban planning, nature conservation, housing, traffic arrangements, energy production, and importantly for supplying and distributing food. Actions against the well-known respiratory risk factors, air pollution and smoking, should be taken simultaneously.

Conclusions:

In Finland and elsewhere in Europe, successful programmes have been implemented to reduce the burden of respiratory disorders and other NCDs. Unhealthy behaviour can be changed by well-coordinated actions involving all stakeholders. The growing public health concern caused by NCDs in urban surroundings cannot be solved by health care alone; a multidisciplinary approach is mandatory.

KEYWORDS:

Biodiversity; CRDs; Environment; Immune regulation; Lifestyle; NCDs; Nature; Planetary health; Respiratory diseases; SDGs

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interestsThe authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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