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Health Experts Warn Of Linkages Between Climate Change, Increased Malnutrition

“Malnutrition is likely to be the most serious health threat linked to climate shifts in the coming decades, as farmers struggle to cope with more unpredictable weather, … epidemiologist Kris Ebi warned during a recent World Health Organization (WHO) briefing on adapting health systems to climate shifts,” AlertNet reports. “Linkages between climate change, extreme weather and health have so far focused mainly on an expected increase in deaths from disasters and heat waves, as well as rising cases of malaria, dengue fever and diarrhea,” the news service writes.

“[W]ith 85 percent of the health impacts of climate change estimated to hit children,” and with malnutrition as an underlying cause of about half of annual child deaths, “they will be ‘highly vulnerable,’ said Ebi,” according to AlertNet. “One major problem is that those likely to face the biggest health challenges from climate change also have the fewest resources to prepare, warned Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)],” the news service notes, adding, “The two areas of the world likely to suffer the greatest health risks linked with climate change are sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, IPCC studies suggest” (Goering, 9/18).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.