Developing a European urban health indicator system: results of EURO-URHIS 1

Lesley Patterson, Richard Heller, Jude Robinson, Christopher Birt, Erik Van Ameijden, Ioan Bocsan, Chris White, Yannis Skalkidis, Vinay Bothra, Ifeoma Onyia, Wolfgang Hellmeier, Heidi Lyshol, Islay Gemmell, Angela Spencer, Jurate Klumbiene, Igor Krampac, Iveta Rajnicova, Alexis Macherianakis, Michael Bourke, Anne HarrisonArpana Verma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: More than half of the world’s population now live in cities, including over 70% in Europe. Cities bring opportunities but can be unhealthy places to live. The poorest urban dwellers live in the worst environments
and are at the greatest risk of poor health outcomes. EURO-URHIS 1 set out to compile a cross-EU inventory of member states use of measures of urban health in order to support policymakers and improve public health policy.
Methods: Following a literature review to define terms and find an appropriate model to guide urban health research, EURO-URHIS Urban Areas in all EU member states except Luxembourg, as well as Croatia, Turkey, Macedonia, Iceland and Norway, were defined and selected in collaboration with project partners. Following piloting of the survey tool, a the EURO-URHIS 45 data collection tool was sent out to contacts in all countries with identified EUA’s, asking for data on 45 Urban Health Indicators (UHI) and 10 other indicators. Results: 60 questionnaires were received from 30 countries, giving information on local health indicator availability, definitions and sources. Telephone interviews were also conducted with 14 respondents about their knowledge of
sources of urban health data and barriers or problems experienced when collecting the data. Discussion: Most participants had little problem identifying the sources of data, though some found that data was not always
routinely recorded and was held by diverse sources or not at local level. Some participants found the data collection instrument to not be user-friendly and with UHI definitions that were sometimes unclear. However, the work has demonstrated that urban health and its measurement is of major relevance and importance for Public Health across Europe. The current study has constructed an initial system of European UHIs to meet the objectives of the project, but has also clearly demonstrated that further development work is required. The
importance and value of examining UHIs has been confirmed, and the scene has been set for further studies on this topic.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe European Journal of Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2015


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