A healthy living environment positively affects the quality of people's lives. The City of Utrecht aims to create such a 'healthy urban living' environment for its citizens by collaborating with different stakeholders and focusing on areas like innovation, health economy and infrastructure. Healthy Urban Living is also about creating an environment in which sustainable and innovative entrepreneurship can flourish and projects can emerge. These stories show what this is like in Utrecht.
The City of Utrecht takes the health of its citizens very seriously. The creation and development of a healthy urban environment in Utrecht is essential to stimulate the health of the local population. The question is however, how can you find out whether your citizens actually are healthy? The City of Utrecht has found an answer to this question: the Public Health Monitor.
The Public Health Monitor Utrecht (Volksgezondheidsmonitor Utrecht, VMU) was created to gather and analyse data onthe health of Utrecht's citizens. Epidemiologists from the municipality are responsible for collecting and analysing the data. The data includes a variety of different themes, such as self-perceived health, control over one’s own life, life expectancy, diseases and illnesses, social contacts, financial situation, lifestyle, use of health care, and the physical environment. These themes all come together in the Public Health Monitor. Additionally, developments in time are identified in the VMU, and Utrecht data is compared with data from other large cities in the Netherlands as well as national data.
After gathering and analysing the data, professionals, residents and advisory boards are included in the process and asked whether the data matches their observations and experiences. Thus, multiple parties are involved in interpreting the data. Eventually, the conclusions from the research are used for policy advice and practice. Knowledge from the Public Health Monitor can be used to make well-founded (policy) choices, prioritise themes or target groups, support insights, and evaluate work.