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NSW Public Health Bulletin archive

Too busy: why time is a health and environmental problem Volume 18 Issue 11-12

Lyndall Strazdins, Bernadette Loughrey

New South Wales Public Health Bulletin 18(12) 219–221 Published online: 6 December 2007

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About the author/s

Lyndall Strazdins

Bernadette Loughrey


Time pressure is emerging as a modern malaise. It is linked to changes in working life, with longer work hours and faster work pace, and it is compounded in families; nowadays both parents must combine working with caring. Time pressure also challenges urban, health and environmental policy because many interventions have an unacknowledged time dimension. People need time to keep healthy, to exercise and to maintain strong social and family bonds. If urban designs or environmental solutions can reduce time demands they may directly improve health and social outcomes. However, where they increase time demands they may have unanticipated health costs, create disincentives for the uptake of interventions and disadvantage those who are most time poor.