A road in the east of Luxembourg damaged by flash flooding at the end of May
Photo: Luxembourg Government
Climate change and the environment are considered to be the biggest health challenge facing Luxembourg over the next 25 years, a straw poll has found.
Four out of ten people responding to the poll at the citizens dialogue at the Capucins theatre on Thursday said environmental issues were the most pressing. Just over a fifth cited the aging population, followed by unhealthy lifestyles (19%), antimicrobial resistance (AMR) (15%) and terrorism (4%).
“Aging population and climate change go together,” European commissioner for health and food safety Vytenis Andriukaitis pointed out. “How many people aged 65 to 72 were ill last autumn with seasonal flu? It’s one of the biggest parts of climate change. We’ve the same chain every time: climate change, viruses, the virus mutates affecting different parts of our population.”
He pointed out that between 27 and 29,000 people die each year because of antimicrobial resistance.
Luxembourg health minister Lydia Mutsch meanwhile pointed out that the recent flash floods which devastated parts of eastern Luxembourg had helped to raise awareness about the issues of climate change. “We should take advantage of this increased awareness to promote different behaviours concerning the way we construct, deal with our environment, and concerning the link between the environment and a healthy lifestyle,” she said.
The pair answered questions from the audience on a range of issues relating to health. Responding to a question about obesity, the minister said in two weeks she will present a five-year plan to government on combating childhood obesity, which today affects almost 30% of young people. Among the causes of obesity, she cited pricing policy and lack of regulations on things like alcohol. She mentioned a sugar tax though did not say if this formed part of the plan.