31 July 2015

HIA of transport projects for Plaine Commune

Download the report
An English summary of the Plaine Commune HIA of transport projects has been developed. It describes an HIA of three related transport projects in the Saint-Denis area of Paris.

You can download the report here.

16 July 2015

APHA summer webinar series about racism's impact on health and disparities in the USA

The recent events in Charleston, South Caroline, Baltimore, Maryland, and Ferguson, Missouri, remind us that stigma, inequalities and civil rights injustices remain in our society today. Unfortunately, skin color plays a large part in how people are viewed, valued and treated. We know that racism, both intentional and unintentional, affects the health and well-being of individuals and communities and stifles the opportunity of many to contribute fully to the future and growth of this nation.

Join the leadership of the American Public Health Association in a summer webinar series about racism's impact on health and disparities. This a four part webinar series.

Register by clicking here.

Naming and Addressing Racism: A Primer

July 21, 2015 | 2 p.m. EDT

Use timeanddate.com to find the time in your timezone.

Shiriki Kumanyika, PhD, MPH, and Camara P. Jones, MD, MPH, PhD 

This kick-off webinar featuring APHA’s executive director, president and president-elect will take a look at some of the nation’s leading health inequities.

APHA President Shiriki Kumanyika will discuss how racism is one of the most challenging tools of social stratification we face when trying to improve the health of the public. She also will reflect on the evidence and research needs related to how racism limits our ability to make America the healthiest nation.

APHA President-Elect Camara Jones will tell the Gardener's Tale and present a framework for understanding racism on three levels. This framework is useful for understanding the basis for race-associated differences in health, designing effective interventions to eliminate those differences and engaging in a national conversation.

Upcoming webinars in this series:

Community Violence Well-Being
August 4, 2015, 2 p.m. EDT

Unequal Treatment: Disparities in Access, Quality and Care
August 18, 2015, 2 p.m. EDT

Racism: The Silent Partner in High School Dropout and Health Disparities
September 1, 2015, 2 p.m. EDT

14 July 2015

United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Global Roster of Environmental, Social and Health Expert Consultants

UNDP is establishing a global roster of expert consultants to support implementation of our Social and Environmental Standards (SES), deadline for applications is Friday, August 7:



UNDP’s Social and Environmental Standards (SES) underpin our commitment to mainstream social and environmental sustainability in our Programmes and Projects to support sustainable development.

The objectives of the standards are to:
Strengthen the social and environmental outcomes of Programmes and Projects;
Avoid adverse impacts to people and the environment;
Minimize, mitigate, and manage adverse impacts where avoidance is not possible;
Strengthen UNDP and partner capacities for managing social and environmental risks;
Ensure full and effective stakeholder engagement, including through a mechanism to respond to complaints from project-affected people.

The SES are comprised of an Overarching Policy and Principles, Project-Level Standards, and a Policy Delivery Process. The overarching policy and principles at the core of the SES are: (i) human rights-based approach to development programming; (ii) gender equality; and (iii) environmental sustainability.

A key mechanism to ensure these standards are applied is through UNDP’s project-level Social and Environmental Screening Procedure (SESP) which is a requirement for all proposed projects with a budget of $500,000 or more. The objectives of the SESP are to: (a) Integrate the SES Overarching Principles (human rights, gender equality and environmental sustainability); (b) Identify potential social and environmental risks and their significance; (c) Determine the Project's risk category (Low, Moderate, High); and (d) Determine the level of social and environmental assessment and management required to address potential risks and impacts.

UNDP’s SES and SESP came into effect January 1, 2015. The challenge now is to ensure successful implementation and strengthened capacities of staff to apply the standards.

Duties and Responsibilities (if selected to be on the roster and then selected for an assignment

To support implementation of the SES a Roster of Social and Environmental Standards Experts will be established. Experts will need to demonstrate extensive experience in at least one (preferably multiple) of the thematic areas listed below:
  • Human Rights (including human rights based approach and human rights impact assessment);
  • Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (including gender mainstreaming and gender analysis);
  • Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Natural Resource Management (including mitigation and use of offsets, protected areas, forests, water);
  • Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction (including climate risk analysis, disaster risk, greenhouse gas emissions);
  • Community Health and Safety (including infrastructure safety, health impacts, emergency preparedness);
  • Labour Standards (including familiarity with ILO standards, decent work);
  • Cultural Heritage (including chance find procedures, physical and intangible cultural resources);
  • Displacement and Resettlement (including Resettlement Action Plan, livelihoods);
  • Indigenous Peoples (including Free, Prior and Informed Consent, Indigenous Peoples Plans);
  • Pollution Prevention and Resource Efficiency (including pollution prevention plans, waste management, hazardous materials);
  • Social and Environmental Screening and Assessment (including Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment, Environmental and Social Management Plans).
Relevant experience includes demonstrated familiarity with the relevant UN international legal and normative framework, the application of relevant standards, stakeholder engagement, analytical tools, methods, impact assessment and risk management measures during the planning and implementation of development projects.

The duties and responsibilities detailed below are a representative, but not exhaustive, list of potential activities.

Specific Terms of Reference will dictate the scope of work and the selection of experts from the vetted roster for each of the assignments. Key areas of support and activities will include:

Development of guidance and tools
  • Provide inputs in area(s) of expertise to the development of guidance and tools to support implementation of the SES;
  • Support the elaboration of case studies;
Capacity development and trainings for staff
  • Support the development and delivery of trainings for staff, including webinars, the development of online training content, and support to face-to-face trainings;
  • Support the development of learning materials, including case studies and documentation of lessons learned.
  • Technical and advisory support related to implementation of the SES
  • Review draft SESP reports and related assessments and management plans and provide advice on how to further strengthen the quality.
  • Support the conduct of assessments and development of management plans.
  • Support implementation and monitoring of management and mitigation activities.
  • Institutional arrangements will be agreed if a contract is formalized. The hired consultants will report to, seek approval/acceptance of outputs as specified in the contract.

Duration of the Work: (If selected for roster and then selected for a specific project)

One year initial with possibility of extension up to two additional years subject to satisfactory performance. 

  • Specific technical expertise in at least one of the SES thematic areas listed above;
  • Highly organized with strong analytical and research skills;
  • Excellent analytical, writing, advocacy, presentation, and communications skills;
  • Ability to prepare succinct, analytical publications and reports;
  • Focuses on impact and result for the client and responds positively to critical feedback;
  • Demonstrated ability to work in an independent manner.

Required Skills and Experience

  • Masters degree in field related to international development, with specific academic background related to social and environmental sustainability.

  • At least 10 years of experience related to social and environmental standards and impact assessment in an international development context;
  • Experience developing and conducting training related to social and environmental standards;
  • Experience or strong familiarity with the work of UNDP and/or other multilateral, bilateral and civil society development partners.
  • Familiarity with the UN System, in particular UNDP.

7 July 2015

Is there evidence that walking groups have health benefits? A systematic review and meta-analysis

Is there evidence that walking groups have health benefits? A systematic review and meta-analysis

Sarah Hanson, Andy Jones
9 November 2014

Regular physical activity positively impacts health potentially offering similar effects to some drug interventions in terms of mortality benefits. Indeed, it has been suggested as an alternative or adjunct to conventional drug therapy. Walking at a pace of 3–5 m/h (5–8 km/h) expends sufficient energy to be classified as moderate intensity2 and is an easy and accessible way of meeting physical activity recommendations.

Systematic reviews and meta-analyses have shown walking to have various health benefits including:

  • positive effects on fitness
  • fatness and resting blood pressure
  • blood pressure control
  • weight loss
  • depression
  • cardiovascular disease risk prevention.


To assess the health benefits of outdoor walking groups.

Systematic review and meta-analysis of walking group interventions examining differences in commonly used physiological, psychological and well-being outcomes between baseline and intervention end.

Data sources
Seven electronic databases, clinical trial registers, grey literature and reference lists in English language up to November 2013.

Eligibility criteria
Adults, group walking outdoors with outcomes directly attributable to the walking intervention.

Forty-two studies were identified involving 1843 participants. There is evidence that walking groups have wide-ranging health benefits. Meta-analysis showed statistically significant reductions in mean difference for systolic blood pressure −3.72 mm Hg (−5.28 to −2.17) and diastolic blood pressure −3.14 mm Hg (−4.15 to −2.13); resting heart rate −2.88 bpm (−4.13 to −1.64); body fat −1.31% (−2.10 to −0.52), body mass index −0.71 kg/m2 (−1.19 to −0.23), total cholesterol −0.11 mmol/L (−0.22 to −0.01) and statistically significant mean increases in VO2max of 2.66 mL/kg/min (1.67 3.65), the SF-36 (physical functioning) score 6.02 (0.51 to 11.53) and a 6 min walk time of 79.6 m (53.37–105.84).

A standardised mean difference showed a reduction in depression scores with an effect size of −0.67 (−0.97 to −0.38). The evidence was less clear for other
outcomes such as waist circumference fasting glucose, SF-36 (mental health) and serum lipids such as highdensity lipids. There were no notable adverse side effects reported in any of the studies.

Walking groups are effective and safe with good adherence and wide-ranging health benefits. They could be a promising intervention as an adjunct to other healthcare or as a proactive health-promoting activity.

Original Source BJSM

4 July 2015

Does active commuting improve psychological wellbeing?

Does active commuting improve psychological wellbeing?
Longitudinal evidence from eighteen waves of the British Household Panel Survey

Adam Martin, Yevgeniy Goryakin, Marc Suhrcke



The aim of this study is to explore the relationship between active travel and psychological wellbeing.

  • Impact of commuting behaviour on wellbeing was explored using individual fixed effects analyses.
  • Compared to driving, wellbeing was higher when using active travel or public transport.
  • Use of active travel reduced the likelihood of two specific GHQ12 psychological symptoms.
  • Switching from car driving to active travel improved wellbeing.
  • Wellbeing increased with travel time for walkers, but decreased for drivers.


The aim of this study is to explore the relationship between active travel and psychological wellbeing.


This study used data on 17,985 adult commuters in eighteen waves of the British Household Panel Survey (1991/2–2008/9). Fixed effects regression models were used to investigate how travel mode choice, commuting time and switching to  active travel impacted on overall psychological wellbeing and how (iv.) travel mode choice impacted on specific psychological symptoms included in the General Health Questionnaire.


After accounting for changes in individual-level socioeconomic characteristics and potential confounding variables relating to work, residence and health, significant associations were observed between overall psychological wellbeing (on a 36-point Likert scale) and (i.) active travel (0.185, 95% CI: 0.048 to 0.321) and public transport (0.195, 95% CI: 0.035 to 0.355) when compared to car travel, (ii.) time spent (per 10 minute change) walking (0.083, 95% CI: 0.003 to 0.163) and driving (−0.033, 95% CI: −0.064 to −0.001), and (iii.) switching from car travel to active travel (0.479, 95% CI: 0.199 to 0.758). Active travel was also associated with reductions in the odds of experiencing two specific psychological symptoms when compared to car travel.


The positive psychological wellbeing effects identified in this study should be considered in cost–benefit assessments of interventions seeking to promote active travel

Full article click here (Open Access)

Original source  Michael Evans