WHO highlights climate change's impact on human health

Climate-related natural hazards have some "serious mental and physical health impacts" in pregnancy, for younger, older people

By Web Desk
June 08, 2024
A woman walks in Vatican City during a heatwave across Italy, July 19, 2023. — Reuters

In a series of articles presented by the World Health Organization (WHO), documented scientific evidence highlighted the harmful impact of climate change upon the significant stages of the human life cycle.

“These provide important scientific evidence on how the health of pregnant women, newborns, children, adolescents and older people is affected by air pollution and different climate hazards, including wildfires, flooding and extreme heat,” Anayda Portela, director of the WHO’s department of maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and aging, said during a briefing Friday in Geneva for journalists, reported VOA.


She added: “This evidence is critically important, because it shows the leading health risks for each of these groups for these different climate events.”

Climate-related health risks “have been crucially underestimated” for younger and older people and during pregnancy, “with serious, often life-threatening implications”, showed the collection of articles published in the Journal of Global Health, she noted.

As per the studies’ finding, climate-related natural hazards have some “serious mental and physical health impacts” in pregnancy, and for younger and older people.

For example, preterm births, which now are the leading cause of childhood deaths, “increase during heatwaves, whereas, older people are more likely to suffer heart attacks or respiratory distress”, noted the authors.

Heatwaves also “affect cognitive function and therefore learning for children and adolescents”, they reported.

Moreover, 2023 as the hottest year on record has been confirmed by the World Meteorological Organization’s State of Global Climate report. They also predict that global temperatures over “the entire five-year 2024-2028 period will exceed 1.5 degrees centigrade above the pre-industrial era,” which scientists warn could lead to instantaneous and unchangeable changes in the climate.