Built Environment and Incidence of Chronic Diseases in Elderly People in Beijing, China

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Abstract Summary
1. Background: In recent years, China has experienced rapid social-economic development and urbanization. Although it has improved the living standards of residents, it has brought environmental pollution, urban emergencies, lack of physical activity and other issues, which pose a threat to public health. As a country with a large population, China's elderly population over 60 years old reached 222 million in 2015, accounting for 16.1% of the total population. It is predicted that the elderly population will reach 400 million by 2035. As the elderly population increases, the elderly health has been widely concerned. Chronic diseases accounted for 86.6% of all deaths in China in 2015, while the prevalence of chronic diseases among the elderly was 4.2 times that of the general population. Due to the decline of physical function and social adaptability, elderly people are more vulnerable to the built environment, that they are at high risk of various chronic diseases and health problems. By the end of 2016, the registered elderly population aged 60 and above in Beijing was about 3.92 million, accounting for over 24% of the total population, ranking second in China. 2. Methods: Taking Beijing as study area, we analyzed the impact of urban built environment on the elderly health, and put forward suggestions on optimizing the age-friendly environments from the perspective of urban planning, which provide reference for China to cope with the aging society. Based on the data of the fourth sample survey on the living conditions of the elderly in urban and rural China, the study drew the spatial distribution map of the incidence of chronic diseases among the elderly in 114 communities of Beijing. Our study is based on the vector Map of Beijing's current land use, which integrates the Open Street Map (OSM) images and baidu building vector data and other information, then the built environment is divided into three aspects: land use(land use abundance, land use mix, land use patterns, accessibility…), transportation(walkability, street connectivity, road density…) and community environment quality(aesthetics, security, accessibility, cultural awareness…). Spatial regression model was used to analyze the correlation between the incidence of chronic diseases and built environment and structural equation model was applied to identify the causal pathways and mediators between built environment and elderly health. 3. Results: From the perspective of building healthy city and improving elderly health, this study initially established the theoretical framework of the built environment and public health at the community level by combining the theories of urban planning and public health. Our study sorted out a variety of spatial and environmental factors affecting the incidence of chronic diseases among the elderly, including the characteristics of land use, transportation and community environment quality, which influenced the theoretical basis for the optimization of the planning and design of the urban environment. Exploring the planning and design path in the context of healthy cities, we mainly focus on three aspects: reducing pollution and its impact on residents, optimizing the built environment to promote physical activity and providing suitable space to promote social interaction, so as to improve the physical and mental health of the elderly. This study also provides policy implications for promoting public health at the community level, helping policymakers better understand the complex relationship between urban planning and public health. Reference: (1) Barton H, Tsourou C. Healthy urban planning[M]. Routledge, 2013. (2) Lopez R. The built environment and public health[M]. John Wiley & Sons, 2012. (3) Sarkar C, Webster C, Gallacher J. Healthy cities: public health through urban planning[M]. Edward Elgar Publishing, 2014.
Abstract ID :
ISO215
Submission Type
School of Architecture, Tsinghua University

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