Child and smokestacks

Rising temperatures, drought, and weather disasters can threaten people’s health. Nobody is exempt. But …

Perera: “The health of children is disproportionately affected by climate change.”

Frederica Perera is director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health. She says children are vulnerable because their immune systems are not mature. And, their rapidly growing bodies are more sensitive to damage from disease and environmental contaminants.

In particular, children are more likely than adults to die from diarrheal disease, which is expected to become more common in some areas as the climate warms.

And some children are at more risk than others.

Perera: “It is the children living in low income countries and communities who are most affected.”

Low-income communities often lack the resources to effectively prevent and treat illness. What’s more, climate change-related food shortages can lead to malnourishment, which puts children at greater risk of other health problems.

To help protect children, Perera says we need to limit global warming by reducing fossil fuel emissions.

Perera: “We know how to do this. Means are at hand now and the science supports action now.”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

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