October is Vulnerable Populations Month, Focus on Children

#ClimateChangesHealth

Year of Climate Change and Health

"I don't want people to think...that climate change is just about polar bears. It really is about direct public health issues like asthma and kids, like cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases associated with air pollution". -- Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, in U.S. News & World Report

Due to the rise and frequency of extreme weather events, it’s important to emphasize the health threats and challenges imposed by climate change. While everyone will be faced with the health impacts inflicted by climate change, certain groups will disproportionately feel the health impacts, as they can be less climate-resilient.

Vulnerable Population  Vulnerability Climate Effects Health Threats
Children
  • Breathe more air and drink more water per body weight than adults
  • Developing organs and low immunity
  • Dependent on adults
  • More time spent outdoors
  • Air pollution
  • Extreme heat
  • Flooding and water contamination
  • Food insecurity
  • Drought
  • Asthma and allergies
  • Neurological disorders
  • Heat-related illness
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrheal illness
  • Drowning and injuries
  • Psychological stress/imbalance
  • Increased vector-borne diseases (e.g. Zika, West Nile Virus, Lyme disease)
  • Malnutrition
Older Adults
  • Low immunity
  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Limited mobility
  • Extreme heat
  • Air pollution
  • Flooding 
  • Heat-related illness
  • Dehydration
  • Heart disease
  • Psychological stress
  • Falls 
Communities of Color
  • Structural racism
  • Inadequate infrastructure
  • Health disparities
  • Lack of social capital
  • Language barrier
  • Flooding 
  • Physical damage to communities 
  • Psychological stress/imbalance
  • Increased heart and lung complications
Low-Income Communities
  • Less resources and means to evacuate
  • Inadequate infrastructure
  • Flooding
  • Physical damage to communities
  • Food insecurity
  • Psychological distress/imbalance
  • Physical displacements
  • Malnutrition

Other groups that are particularly vulnerable to the health effects of climate change include: pregnant women, immigrant groups (including those with limited English proficiency), indigenous peoples, the disabled, vulnerable occupational groups, such as workers who are exposed to extreme weather, and people with pre-existing or chronic medical conditions.

Read the Public Health Newswire post, Children at risk in a changing climate*

Read the Public Health Newswire post, Are we protecting our children?*

(*blog posts only represent the views of the author)

Tweet about Vulnerable Populations month.

Follow the conversation using the hashtag #ClimateChangesHealth.

YEAR OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND HEALTH MONTHLY THEMES

Month  Theme
January Introduction to the Year of Climate Change and Health
February Climate Justice and Health
March Clean Energy
April Transportation and Healthy Community Design
May Air Quality, Lung and Heart Health
June Mental Wellness and Resilience
July Agriculture and Food Safety and Security
August Water Quality
September Extreme Weather
October Vulnerable Populations, Focus on Children
November  Tribal and Indigenous Health
December Co-benefits
EVENTS

Year of Climate Change and Health Calendar of Events (PDF) 

Twitter Chat: Children's Environmental Health (Oct. 12, 2 p.m. EDT)

Webinar: Climate Changes Children's Health: Protecting our Future (Oct. 19, 1:30-2:30 p.m. EDT) 

Have a climate and health event you'd like us to add to the calendar? Please email us

PARTNERS
HELPFUL RESOURCES

Have a resource you'd like us to include? Please email us.

AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH ARTICLES

Fact sheets on Climate Change

estreme heat

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