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English – Nature Step to Health

Lahti Regional Health and Environment Programme 2022–2032

Lahti Regional Health and Environment Programme integrates health and environmental goals of the Päijät-Häme region. The programme is motivated by major interconnected challenges: the rise of certain public health challenges, such as non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and health risks like asthma, diabetes, obesity and depression, as well as the accelerating rate of biodiversity loss and climate change. Our lifestyle is unsustainable, leading to health problems and an overconsumption of natural resources. The programme develops healthy, socially equal and environmentally sustainable practices and mechanisms that support our daily lives and make it easier for us to make responsible lifestyle choices.

Recent research indicates that we can prevent and mitigate chronic non-communicable diseases by strengthening our connection to nature and changing our lifestyle. Expert cooperation enables us to bring about improvements in both health and the environment. Lahti was appointed the European Green Capital 2021 in recognition of its persistent environmental efforts. By combining these efforts with public health and the regional health and wellbeing service structure, we obtain a system that serves citizens better than ever.

The programme has five goals, which are monitored using indicators:

  1. Prevention of certain public health challenges such as NCDs
  2. Enhancement of biodiversity
  3. Climate change mitigation and adaptation
  4. Cooperation between health and environmental actors in education, research and communication
  5. Economic impact on health, health and wellbeing services and environment

The programme has four tasks that promote both health and environmental goals:

  • Promoting healthier and more sustainable nutrition
  • Promoting active mobility and physical activity
  • Creating more healthy and sustainable living environments
  • Promoting exposure to nature and improving the connection with nature
  • The programme is carried out by various collaborating stakeholders. Implementation is driven by new development projects, and the efficacy of the programme is monitored using statistical data, surveys, questionnaires and multidisciplinary studies. The effectivity is assessed during feedback and interim evaluations.
  • The programme is coordinated by the Päijät-Häme Joint Authority for Health and Wellbeing, the City of Lahti and the Lahti University Campus. The programme has researchers and experts from the University of Helsinki, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) and WWF Finland.

Naturestep to health programme and its goals and tasks

Naturestep to health programme and its goals and tasks