Implications of climate change on children’s health: An equity perspective

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Authors: Martha Berger, Nse Obot Witherspoon, Justin Harris, and I Leslie Rubin
Page Range: 407-414
Published in: International Public Health Journal, 15#4 (2023)
ISSN: 1947-4989

Table of Contents

ABSTRACT

Climate change is a significant threat to human health as greenhouse gases accumulate, temperatures rise, sea levels rise, and extreme weather events become more intense and frequent. In communities throughout the world, those most often and most severely affected by climate change are those with the least means to protect themselves and to recover when disaster strikes, most notably children. The physical and mental health implications of climate change for children, from before birth, through infancy, during early childhood, and as teenagers, are distinct in the short- and long-term health effects of environmental exposures. For children in under-resourced communities, where adverse environmental exposures are more likely, and the health effects are disproportionately more harmful. Furthermore, the current trajectory of climate change is creating both anxiety and positive energy in the youth of today to become part of advocating for and making positive changes to address climate change and improve their physical and mental health. In addition, concerned citizens are forging new alliances and partnerships to address the impacts of climate change on children’s health. There is an urgent need to increase awareness and knowledge among health care professionals and the general public about climate change and its disproportionate impact on children, particularly on children in poverty and marginalized communities, and to develop collaborative strategies to combat climate change, protect the children and their future.

Keywords: Climate change, children and youth, health impacts, equity, environmental health, climate equity collaborative

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