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Leveraging the Built Environment to Advance Dietary and Planetary Health

Anja Mikic | Nourishment Concept Lead, International WELL Building Institute™

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Anja Mikic, nourishment concept lead at International WELL Building Institute, discussed the importance of health in the built environment and how that effects other aspects of health in her presentation "Leveraging the Built Environment to Advance Dietary and Planetary Health."

Anja began with the World Health Organization's definition of "health," as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." In short, the fact that we are not sick does not mean that we are healthy. Health is based on more than just genetics; physical and social environment and health behaviors actually account for more than any other factors.

While we may not think of it, our buildings actually play a large role in our health based on physical environment. Shockingly, we spend about 90% of our time indoors. This makes the buildings in which we live, work, and learn powerful determinants of our health, and we need to view their optimization as a form of preventative care.

The WELL Building Standard takes a comprehensive approach to addressing well-being in the built environment. A healthy building is defined by more than just good design, and must also take into account the building's performance and policies for the people who occupy it.

Although we have developed increasingly sophisticated standards for environmental sustainability and building green, we must now expand the focus to human sustainability and promoting and enhancing the health and wellness of people and the planet.

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About the Speakers

About the Speaker

Anja supports the Standard Development team in the continuous development of the WELL Building Standard™ (WELL). As the WELL Nourishment concept lead, she leads translation of research into evidence-based, implementable design and policy interventions that advance the health and nutritional well-being of individuals in buildings and communities around the world. She also oversees the WELL concept advisories and manages a global, multidisciplinary group of Nourishment advisors. Prior to joining IWBI, Anja served as a research assistant at the New York Obesity Research Center, where she examined the effects of sleep and meal timing on energy balance, hunger hormones and insulin resistance. A California native, she earned her B.S. at the University of California, Los Angeles and received her M.S. in human nutrition from Columbia University. She is both a WELL AP and LEED Green Associate, and happily serves as WELL faculty.