The programme conducts innovative and cutting-edge research on important health issues for society. In 2019, we published a number of high-impact papers on air pollution, the urban environment and health. We found that air pollution was responsible for one third of new childhood asthma cases in Europe (1) and that contact with nature during childhood could lead to better mental health in adulthood (2). In one of the largest studies conducted to date, we showed that an increase in urban green spaces could significantly reduce premature mortality (3). We also found that the superblocks model could prevent almost 700 premature deaths every year in Barcelona alone (4).
In low- and middle-income countries, the sources and impact of air pollution may differ. In Mozambique, for example, exposure to air pollution among women is greatly intensified by the use of kerosene lamps (5), while in India, women exposed to high levels of pollution at their residence have higher levels of hypertension (6) and those who use biomass fuels for cooking are at higher risk of stroke or heart attack (7).