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Climate Change

Can Extreme Temperatures Raise Preterm Birth Risk By 60%? Study Finds Surprising Connection

The study, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, was the first to collect all the available scientific evidence for the effects of climate change on children’s health

Can Extreme Temperatures Raise Preterm Birth Risk By 60%? Study Finds Surprising Connection
The researchers warned that lack of global action on climate change will likely devastate children's health for generations

New Delhi: Exposure to extreme temperatures driven by climate change will increase risk of preterm birth by 60 per cent, causing several lifelong complications for millions of children around the world, a new research has found. Analysing results from 163 health studies globally, researchers said they have determined that climate change will be directly responsible for multiple detrimental health impacts in children, including higher occurrences of respiratory illnesses and more hospitalisations.

The researchers, led by those at The University of Western Australia, warned that lack of global action on climate change will likely devastate children’s health for generations.

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They said their study, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, was the first to collect all the available scientific evidence for the effects of climate change on children’s health.

The team also said they have distinguished which particular climate-driven extremes were linked to what kind of health impacts in future generations. Study author Corey Bradshaw from Flinders University, Australia said,

The children’s health issues we identified depend on weather extremes – cold extremes give rise to respiratory diseases, while drought and extreme rainfall can result in stunted growth for a population.

The team said that most of the studies they analysed were in high-income nations, despite the fact that children in lower-income countries are most likely to go without adequate access to healthcare, infrastructure, and stable food supply.

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Their study revealed that even advanced economies would not avoid the impacts of climate change on children’s health, even as they said health risks varied across continents and socio-economic circumstances.

Given that climate influences childhood disease, social and financial costs will continue to rise as climate change progresses, placing increasing pressure on families and health services.

Mr Bradshaw said,

For example, asthma has been estimated to cost as much as USD 1.5 billion due to a single fire season in the future, while another study estimated the costs of a single case of childhood asthma at up to USD 23,573 in the coming years.

Geography too dictated the health impacts of climate change, the researchers found.

While extreme temperatures have led to higher preterm births in Australia’s East Coast, Northern Territory, and Western Australia and enhanced respiratory issues in Queensland, similar temperatures have increased mortality rates in South Africa, they said.

Also Read: Goa Seeing Adverse Impact Of Climate Change: Minister

Action in terms of developing public health policies to counter these climate-related diseases, alongside efforts to reduce anthropogenic climate change, is required to protect current and future children, said lead researcher Lewis Weeda from The University of Western Australia. Mr Weeda said,

Finding solutions and implementing climate adaptation and mitigation policies would positively impact multiple United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Climate change is universal and adversely affecting all countries and people, and we must prepare societies for mounting threats to child health.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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