Toward Heart-Healthy and Sustainable Cities: A Policy Statement from the American Heart Association

Sanjay Rajagopalan, Anu Ramaswami, Aruni Bhatnagar, Robert D. Brook, Mark Fenton, Christopher Gardner, Roni Neff, Armistead G. Russell, Karen C. Seto, Laurie P. Whitsel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Nearly 56% of the global population lives in cities, with this number expected to increase to 6.6 billion or >70% of the world's population by 2050. Given that cardiometabolic diseases are the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in people living in urban areas, transforming cities and urban provisioning systems (or urban systems) toward health, equity, and economic productivity can enable the dual attainment of climate and health goals. Seven urban provisioning systems that provide food, energy, mobility-connectivity, housing, green infrastructure, water management, and waste management lie at the core of human health, well-being, and sustainability. These provisioning systems transcend city boundaries (eg, demand for food, water, or energy is met by transboundary supply); thus, transforming the entire system is a larger construct than local urban environments. Poorly designed urban provisioning systems are starkly evident worldwide, resulting in unprecedented exposures to adverse cardiometabolic risk factors, including limited physical activity, lack of access to heart-healthy diets, and reduced access to greenery and beneficial social interactions. Transforming urban systems with a cardiometabolic health-first approach could be accomplished through integrated spatial planning, along with addressing current gaps in key urban provisioning systems. Such an approach will help mitigate undesirable environmental exposures and improve cardiovascular and metabolic health while improving planetary health. The purposes of this American Heart Association policy statement are to present a conceptual framework, summarize the evidence base, and outline policy principles for transforming key urban provisioning systems to heart-health and sustainability outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1067-E1089
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 9 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


  • AHA Scientific Statements
  • cardiometabolic risk factors
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • cities
  • environmental exposure
  • health equity
  • policy
  • pollution
  • urban population


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