Here's how to build a healthy city

It's not having more hospitals and clinics but a health-promoting environment

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We are genetically programmed for a different world. Genes that were important for our ancestors in a world of scarcity, where they were driven to consume large amounts of high-energy and salty food for survival, have led people to overeat in our modern context when such food is now overabundant. Obesity has become a global epidemic, leading to major chronic illnesses, such as diabetes.

In addition, lack of courage in society to address end-of-life issues has resulted in the mindless extension of lives, with many elderly people "living" out their last years severely demented, bedridden, in pain and with little meaningful interaction with others.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 24, 2020, with the headline Here's how to build a healthy city. Subscribe