Baltic cities tackle lifestyle related diseases

The Big Data Revolution for Public Health - A workshop at the European Week of Regions and Cities

A paradigm shift towards data-driven urban policies is occurring: innovative tools and techniques have been developed to collect, store, analyse, process and visualize large amount of environmental, sensor, health, social and open data.

Peeter Ross from TalTech

Kerli Metsla from TalTech

Nevertheless, Europe is still far from taking full advantage of such revolution to inform urban intesectoral policies and improve population health and wellbeing.

PULSE is a H2020 project aimed to improve predictive analytics and risk detection in cities as well as influence lifestyles and behaviour. In terms of public health risk, the project analyses the environmental and behavioural determinants of disease onset by focusing in particular on the link between air pollution and asthma, and between physical inactivity and Type 2 Diabetes. Moreover, in terms of public health resilience, the project is addressing community wellbeing and its relation with health outcomes. The final goal is to build extensible models and technologies to predict, mitigate and manage public health problems and implement a Public Health Observatory which will serve as linked hub that utilises knowledge-driven processes and big data to shape intersectorial public policies and service provision.

BaltCityPrevention is a project funded by the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme aimed at developing and testing a new approach which helps Public Health Authorities (PHA) in prevention intervention planning. It will enable the PHAs to better tailor the interventions to the specific needs of the user group by applying participatory and co-creation methods and involving eHealth technologies developed by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The two projects have decided to exploit their complementarities and arrange a joint session to offer local policy makers attending the EU Week actionable tools to design cross-sectoral 'Health in All Policies' (HiAP) (Helsinki Statement on Health in All Policies. WHO, Finland 2013). 

Experts from both projects, the EU Urban Agenda Working Group on Digital Transition as well as testimonials from other pioneering cities and representatives of relevant international organizations gave hands on inspirational speeches stimulating an interactive debate with the audience.