Exploring linkages between health and climate change

06 Apr 2018

With the direct and indirect impacts on health becoming equally challenging, what are some of the solutions we have

Climate change affects various aspects of health in direct and indirect ways. Malnutrition is one of these. As per National Initiative on Climate Resilient Agriculture, India's most malnourished areas are also the most vulnerable to climate change in terms of farming. At present, 122 of the regions highly vulnerable to climate change also experience high levels of anaemia. Further, some of the most critical districts have every second woman as anaemic. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat are some of the most affected states with 4 out of 10 children being underweight.

Here is how climate impacts health, and the measures being taken to mitigate this.

 

Infographic: UCHAI
Study conducted in partnership with Understanding Climate and Health Association in India (UCHAI)

Malnutrition and decreased food security

 

Diversifying the food basket

Given the predictable increase in the vulnerability of agriculture in these states in the future, there is a need to focus on the kind of crops that can with stand climate extremes, such as drought. These crops need to be rich in nutrition and easily adaptable to changing climate scenarios. Take a glimpse into some of our traditional grains that can be useful in combating climate impacts on agriculture.


Adding an extra layer of nutrition

Fortifying the daily diet of people, especially in the affected regions, provides a cost-effective solution for at least a short term. Combining more micronutrients to the food items consumed regularly such as salt, wheat, and rice, can reduce instances and the severity of malnutrition in both adults and children.


Environmental impact

Heat stress

36 per cent of children in India, under the age of five years are underweight. Apart from ensuring a balanced nutrition for them, there are several environmental factors too that need to be adjusted to further enhance their well-being. Below are some of the steps at district level that can bring about a positive change in the current scenario.

 

Infographic: UCHAI

As new temperatures thresholds are created each year, India continues to experience heat stress and casualties resulting from it. Among the many affected states, Gujarat is one. Watch how the city of Ahmedabad transformed its predicament through city action heat plan. Beat The Heat - Watch Video

 

TERI heat plot

TERI's ongoing work with in this domain presents observations and solutions such as cool roofs in slum areas of Delhi that help to bring down indoor temperature. Read more

Tags
Climate change
Health
Malnutrition
Heat stress