Madrid Healthy City: Creating a sustainable movement to improve the health of millions

15 December 2015 . Spain

Woman stretching

Half of the world’s population lives in an urban environment and it's predicted that this figure will reach almost 70% by 2050. 

The numbers speak for themselves – we have a massive opportunity as businesses to truly harness our collective influence to positively impact all the lives we touch on a daily basis, starting with our very own employees and expanding into the cities where we operate. 

This motivation is precisely what has led us to create our ‘Madrid Healthy City’ movement at the heart of Bupa’s Spanish operations and home to our regional headquarters. 

Together with a group of companies and the Spanish Heart Foundation, we have created a movement to maximise the power of our workplaces and become active sponsors for the health of our employees, as well as the environment where they work and live with their families. 

In the first edition we saw over a thousand employees from key Spanish businesses, including Accenture, Orange, Endesa, and GSK rise to the challenge and exceed all expectations running, cycling or walking over 100,000 kilometres – over twice the Earth's circumference – in just eight weeks.   

To enhance the impact of our movement into the city we also launched an open physical activity challenge, where participants could track their efforts to our movement from 15 September-15 November through the use of wearable devices or fitness apps. In exchange for their efforts, we are making a financial contribution to the Spanish Heart Federation, who will be working closely with public authorities in Madrid to create cardio-healthy routes around the city for everybody to lead a physically active lifestyle.   

With this first edition of a ‘Healthy City’ we have demonstrated that companies can go a long way promoting healthy lifestyles among their employees and how workplaces hold the key to helping millions more in adopting healthier lifestyles to reduce their risk of developing heart disease, cancer or diabetes. Healthy Cities are the evolution of Smart Cities as they include the health of citizens as a new core element, sustainable mobility, and an urban design that fosters a healthier lifestyle and a better care of the environment. 

We are driven by our purpose: longer, healthier, happier lives, and we will continue to grow our network of organisations committed to create healthier cities, healthier environments and healthier workplaces for the individuals who live in them.