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Climate Change Poses a Threat to the Health of Children

Report: Climate Disruption Threatens Health, Future of All Children

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Climate Change
A U.N.-backed report said Wednesday, warning climate change posed an urgent threat to the health and future of every child and adolescent. Pixabay

Many wealthy nations are letting the world’s younger generations down by failing to curb planet-warming emissions, a U.N.-backed report said Wednesday, warning climate change posed an urgent threat to the health and future of every child and adolescent.

A new global index showed children in Norway, South Korea and the Netherlands had the best chance at survival and well-being thanks to good health care, education and nutrition.

But a ranking of countries by per-capita carbon emissions put those and other rich nations, including the United States and Australia, close to the bottom on that measure, as major contributors to global health threats driven by climate change.

“Countries need to overhaul their approach to child and adolescent health, to ensure that we not only look after our children today but protect the world they will inherit in the future,” said former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, co-chair of the international commission that produced the report.

Climate Change
Students hold banners as they attend a climate school strike in London, Britain. VOA

Child flourishing, sustainability and equity

It said dramatic progress had been made in improving children’s lives in the past five decades but economic inequalities meant the benefits were not shared by all.

And the heating up of the planet and damage to the environment, among other stresses, meant every child faced an uncertain future, it added.

“Climate disruption is creating extreme risks from rising sea levels, extreme weather events, water and food insecurity, heat stress, emerging infectious diseases, and large-scale population migration,” said the report by more than 40 experts.

Commission member Sunita Narain, director general of the New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment, said that in her region of South Asia the main environmental threats came from water shortages and contamination, as well as air pollution.

Children’s health today “is at grave risk because of environmental degradation,” she added.

They are victims of a problem they did not cause — a situation that is particularly acute for the poor, she noted.

“The biggest inequity that we need to confront today is the inequity (of) climate change,” Narain told journalists.

The “sustainability” part of the index ranks countries on how their per-person emissions compare with a 2030 target giving a two-thirds chance of keeping global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times.

Of the top 25 countries with the best score on emissions, all but two were African.

That contrasts starkly with the “flourishing” part of the index, where many African nations did badly on children’s health, education, nutritious food and protection from violence.

Climate Change
Climate disruption is creating extreme risks from rising sea levels, extreme weather events, water and food insecurity and that is why youngsters are protesting. Wikimedia Commons

Not one country performed well on all three measures of child flourishing, sustainability and equity, concluded the commission convened by the World Heath Organization, The Lancet medical journal and U.N. children’s agency UNICEF.

Protect and respond

Another key threat identified was exploitative marketing practices that push fast food, sugary drinks, alcohol and tobacco at children, increasingly through social media channels.

Report author Anthony Costello, professor of global health and sustainability at University College London, said children’s data was being harvested via online games and sold to big technology firms which then target youth with advertising.

“This is totally unregulated,” he said. “We think that there needs to be much greater attention to the protection of children around the world.”

They should also be placed at the center of efforts to achieve the global development goals agreed in 2015, he added.

Few countries have recorded much progress toward achieving those goals, which include ending poverty and hunger by 2030 and tackling climate change, the report noted.

Children should be given a bigger voice in policy decisions that affect their futures, it said — something they are already demanding through social movements like the school climate strikes that have mobilized students worldwide since mid-2018.

Jennifer Requejo, a UNICEF adviser on statistics and monitoring, said children could be involved through measures such as setting up local youth committees, informing them about their rights and having them participate in data collection.

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Costello said young people’s calls for a cleaner, safer world must be heeded by politicians.

“They are simply not responding at the moment in a way that is mature and evidence-based,” he added. (VOA)

Next Story

Here Are Some Health Benefits of Going Vegan

Veganism is a lifestyle that tries to bar, as far as possible and practicable, all kinds of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, or any other purpose

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Vegan
Veganism is a lifestyle that tries to bar, as far as possible and practicable, all kinds of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, or any other purpose. Pixabay

Vegan people follow a plant-based diet and do not eat animal products including dairy, meat, eggs, honey, and gelatin. But, veganism goes beyond the diet.

Veganism is a lifestyle that tries to bar, as far as possible and practicable, all kinds of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, or any other purpose.

Nutritionist and founder of Diet Podium, Shikha Mahajan, shares these five benefits going vegan has on your health.

Reduced risk of cancer

In 2015, the Worle Health Organisation named red meat a Group 2 Carcinogen, which means it probably causes cancer in humans. WHO placed processed meat in the Group 1 category, which means it is carcinogenic to humans.

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Even small amounts of meat can increase the risk of cancer. A study from Oxford University study also found that eating just 3 rashers of bacon a day can increase cancer risk by 20 percent.

Reduced risk Of diabetes

More and more research is concluding that a plant-based diet can reduce the risk of developing diabetes or even reverse the disease completely.

A study, that included more than 2,000 adults, found those people who increased the number of fruit, vegetables, and nuts in their diet over the duration of 20 years reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 60 percent more than those who did not.

Enhanced mood

A study done by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) shows a study on its website that looks at the eating patterns and moods of 3,486 people over a five-year period. The study showed that participants who consumed whole, plant foods reported fewer signs of depression.

Vegan
Vegan people follow a plant-based diet and do not eat animal products including dairy, meat, eggs, honey, and gelatin. But, veganism goes beyond the diet. Pixabay

A different study showed that vegetarians usually experience more positive moods than meat-eaters.

Healthy skin

A plant-based diet might boost your beauty regime by assisting your skin in staying healthy. An increasing number of studies are associating dairy to skin problems such as acne. Dairy products have growth hormones and are also sometimes infused with artificial hormones, which can disrupt the human body’s hormone system.

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Fewer cardiovascular diseases

Meat generally contains a high quantity of saturated and trans-fats which can increase blood cholesterol. Cholesterol can create fatty deposits in the blood vessels that increase the risk of stroke, peripheral artery disease, and heart disease. Plant-based foods, by nature, have no dietary cholesterol. A diet high in fat and cholesterol can also lead to high blood pressure. (IANS)