Climate change is hurting children’s diet, global study has found

Climate change is hurting children's diet, global study has found

A first-of-its-kind global study found that high temperatures are equal or even more contributors to low-quality diets than traditional culprits of child malnutrition and poverty, inadequate sanitation and poor education. This study is the biggest investigation of the relationship between our changing climate and children’s dietary diversity. The study examines dietary diversity in 5 out of 107,000 children and 19 countries in Asia, Africa and South America. Of the six regions investigated – five had significant reductions in dietary diversity associated with high temperatures. Pictured: A farmer and child outside Dodoma, Tanzania. Credit: c. Shubert (CCAFS)

A first-of-its-kind, international study of 107,000 children finds that higher temperatures contribute to equal or greater child malnutrition and lower quality diets than traditional culprits of poverty, traditional hygiene and poor education.

The 19-nation study is the largest investigation of the relationship between our changing climate and children’s dietary diversity. This is believed to be the first study in many countries and continents to see how both high temperatures and rainfall – two major consequences of climate change – affect children’s dietary diversity.

“Certainly, climate change is predicted in the future to affect malnutrition, but it has surprised us that high temperatures are already showing effects,” lead author Meredith Niles, nutrition and food at the University of Vermont Said an assistant professor of science and a fellow. University’s Goon Institute for the Environment.

Study by researchers at the University of Vermont, the study found 107,000 children 5 and 30 years of age in 19 countries in Asia, Africa and South America using geo-coded temperature and precipitation data and dietary diversity using socio-economic, ecological and geographic data Has been investigated. .

The study finds that the negative effects of climate — particularly high temperatures — are greater in some areas than the positive effects of education, water and sanitation, and poverty alleviation on dietary diversity – all common global development strategies. The findings were published today Environmental research paper.

Examined six regions – Asia; Central and South America; North, West and South East Africa, five had significant reductions in dietary diversity associated with high temperatures.

Researchers focused on a metric developed by the United Nations to measure dietary diversity, diet quality, and quantity of micronutrients. Micronutrients such as iron, folic acid, zinc and vitamins A and D are important for hair growth. Micronutrient deficiency is a cause of malnutrition, affecting one in every three children under five years of age. Dietary diversity is measured by counting the number of food groups eaten in a given time period.

In the study, children on average had eaten food from 3.2 food groups (out of 10) – including meat and fish, legumes, dark leafy greens and cereal greens – in the last 24 hours. In contrast, dietary diversity in emerging economies or more affluent countries such as China is more than double this average (6.8 children and 6 children under 6).

“Dietary diversity was already low for this group,” said UVM co-author Brendan Fisher. “These results suggest that, if we do not adapt, climate change may advance a diet that is not already meeting adequate child micronutrient levels.”

Severe childhood malnutrition is an important global challenge. According to the United Nations, 144 million children under the age of 5 crore were affected by chronic malnutrition in 2019. In 2019, 47 million children under the age of 5 are going to waste, or the United Nations says, a condition caused by limited nutrient intake and infection.

The study also found that high rainfall, another potential effect of climate change in some areas, was associated with higher child dietary diversity. In some cases, the effect of high rainfall had a greater effect on child diet. Education, better sanitation or greater forest cover.

“More rain in future can provide significant Quality benefits in many ways, but it also depends on how it rains, “said Molly Brown, co-author of the University of Maryland.” If it is more uncertain and intense, as predicted , It can not be true. “

The study builds on UVM global research on how nature improves children’s health, both their diet and human well-being. The findings suggest that, in addition to addressing current needs, policy makers need to plan for future improvements in diets keeping in mind the most sensitive climate.

“A warmth “The potential that international development programs provide is undermined,” said Taylor Rickets, co-director of UMM’s Goon Institute for the Environment. In fact, this is something we find again and again in this global research: the environment continues to decline. The ability to weaken the impressive global health benefits of the last 50 years. ”

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Quotes: Climate change is damaging children’s diet, global study finds (2021, 14 January) from https://naveenbharat.org/news/2021-01-climate-children-diets-global.html on 14 January 2021 receive again

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