Top urban news, trends and reports curated for the world’s city leaders. Edited by David Hatch

Healthy eating habits on menu for city planners

(Alf Ribeiro /

In fast-growing cities, healthy eating habits tend to get devoured by more immediate concerns, such as crumbling infrastructure and gridlock. Writing on the website of the World Cancer Research Fund International, Marielle Dubbeling urges city leaders to pay more attention to the issue. Poverty and food insecurity, she warns, fuel obesity and other health consequences along with environmental degradation.

Dubbeling is director of the RUAF Foundation, a global network of organizations that help municipalities integrate food strategies into planning. She writes that cities would be wise to prioritize urban agriculture. Benefits include lower food production costs, higher employment and preservation of land near metropolitan areas, she writes.

A few metropolies are standouts. Belo Horizonte, Brazil helps to ensure that affordable meals are universally accessible with public eateries that offer discounted dining, the article says. Dakar, Senegal encourages “micro-gardens” that enable residents to grow food on rooftops or other tight spaces. Ghent, Belgium promotes “veggie Thursdays” to emphasize nutritious habits. Schools and public facilities only offer vegetarian meals on those days and restaurants participate with non-meat specials. 

World Cancer Research Fund International

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