Speaking at Day 2 

Cities and Health - Creating Healthy Neighborhoods

Leigh Wilson
Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney, Australia

Dr Leigh Wilson is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Health Sciences Ageing, Work and Health Research Group. With a PhD in Behavioural Science and a Doctorate in Public Health, Dr Wilson has a strong background in health and health system research, having worked in the NSW Health system as a Health Service Manager and Research Study Co-ordinator.

She has recently published papers on the effects of heat-waves in an elderly population, behavioural aspects of public health and community based healthcare. Dr Wilson is currently working as part of the Ageing, Work and Health Research Group to further investigate the effects of heat-waves in rural communities, the impact of urbanisation and high density living on older people, the implications of climate change on health in an ageing population and improving wellbeing in an older population.

Insight from "Towards Healthy Cities in the Age of Pandemics"

Leigh started the presentation by sharing the context of COVID-19 in Australia, which declared COVID as  a pandemic on 11 March, and had cruise ship Ruby Princess become the epicentre of Australia’s coronavirus outbreak, causing 22 deaths and more than 600 confirmed cases. The current numbers (30 June 2020) stood at 7,800+ cases and 104 deaths.

 

With this as backdrop, Leigh conducted an online study on how COVID-19 and the lockdown have impacts on wellbeing with a particular focus on access to the environment, mental health, challenges and benefits. Nearly half of the women respondents expressed higher anxiety, and 33% of them had less exercise, and 22% thought that there were positive impacts on exercising. Other qualitative comments expressed longer working hours, difficulty for parents to homeschool children and work at the same time, and the lack of space for play and exercise.