Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

More Lack in the World: The Complex Connection between Undernutrition and Climate Change

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

More Lack in the World: The Complex Connection between Undernutrition and Climate Change

Article excerpt

Anthropogenic climate change is projected to reduce cereal yields and food security and therefore to undermine future efforts to reduce child undernutrition. But models are needed to better measure the potential impacts of climate change on population health. Now researchers have developed a model to estimate future undernutrition attributable to climate change as a function of its impact on crop productivity [EHP 119(12):1811-1816; Lloyd et al.].

Undernutrition is measured using criteria such as stunting (smaller-than-average height-for-age) and underweight (smaller-than-average weight-for-age). The researchers developed and validated the model using previously published data about past food availability, the prevalence of stunting, and gross domestic product. Then they used projections of future calorie availability under two climate change scenarios and a reference scenario of no climate change to estimate undernutrition among children under age 5 years in five regions of South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa in 2050.

The model estimates that climate change will lead to an average relative increase in moderate stunting (height that is more than two standard deviations below the expected height-for-age) of 1-29%, depending on region, compared with a future without climate change. Climate change will have a greater impact on rates of severe stunting (height more than three standard deviations below the expected mean), which the authors estimate will increase by an average of 31-62%, depending on region. …

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