Climate changes to cause malnutrition, diseases: expert

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New Delhi, Mar 28 (UNI) Climate changes poses a grave danger to human health as decreasing food production would cause malnutrition related disease while incidence of infectious and vector borne diseases like cholera, diarrohea and dengue would rise, said Prof Anthony J McMichael scientific and health expert of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Delivering the Public Health Foundation of India Foundation Day Lecture 2008 on 'Environment, Climate and Health: An Expanded Public Health Research and Policy Agenda for the 21st Century' here, Prof McMichael, who studied the impact of climate change on human health, said that the global warming was happening at a very fast pace impacting the food production adversely. Moreover, it was also affecting the weather systems like Monsoon due to which the disparity in production would also increase.

Global climatic changes and health are inextricably linked as it affect humans both directly through the physical effects of climatic extremes and indirectly through influneces on the pollution level in air, on the agriculture, marine and freshwarter systems that provide food and water and on the vectors that cause infectious diseases such as malaria, dengue, kala azar and filaria, he said.

Citing the various studies, Prof McMichael pointed out that the heat related deaths in Delhi during summer were increasing and if temperature rises further, the risk of such deaths would increase.

Moreover, the frequency of very hot and very cold days was also likely to increase further during the coming years, he predicted.

This would also affect the productivity as the full working days would decline for people.

The increase in emission of greenhouse gases would result in declining crop productions in Africa and South Asia which would result in declining availability and affordability which may lead to diseases relating to malnutrition, he pointed out.

Increasing demand for foodgrains for animals especially in China and India and increasing cultivation of biofuels would also aggravate the situation and in the long term affect the geopolitical scenario.

Incidence of infectious diseases like cholera are also likely to increase due to fluctuations in weather phenomenon especially longer dry spell and heavy floods due to monsoon, he said.

Studies have revealed that increase in temperature leades to increase incidence of dengue due to increase in viral growth.

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