The Asia-Pacific region is substantially urban, 45% of the population now resides in urban areas. Urbanization is increasing rapidly, with more than 40 million people being added each year. Moreover, 50% of these people are below 25 years of age.
The region faces the double burden of infectious diseases and the emerging life style diseases associated with rising incomes. The promise of greater opportunities in cities is accompanied by changing aspirations of people. Policy makers need to take into account the growing material aspirations of the people while planning developmental activities with improved environmental safe guards. Scientists have an important role in the development of new knowledge to inform this decision making. Total wellbeing involves complex interactions of multiple determinants, and systems approach can improve understanding of the interplay between these determinants and suggest practical approaches. Countries in this region range from developed (e.g. Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea), to emerging economies (e.g. China, India) to low income nations. The region also has diverse governance systems varying from monarchies, socialist regimes and democracies. Combining this with differing expertise for undertaking complex analysis, we see that the approach to understanding the complex interactions involved in total wellbeing should vary throughout the region.