AIA Insights Report

The Environment and Our Health

May 2022

Exploring the link between human health and the environment

There is an inextricable link between our health and the environment, which is becoming increasingly evident. The nature of the relationship is two-way – our behaviours impact environmental health, which in turn impacts human health.
According to the World Health Organisation, in 2017, almost a quarter of all annual deaths globally are linked to the environment, and nearly two-thirds of these deaths are due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs). NCDs can be affected by risk factors that originate in the environment, or by risk factors that are influenced by the environment. Concerningly, the overall impact of the environment on human health is escalating.
This paper focuses on the link between health and environmental factors that impact NCDs, including climate change, air pollution, agriculture and food production, and urbanisation and the built environment.