Special Issue "Impact of Climate Change on Child Health"

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A special issue of Children (ISSN 2227-9067).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2014)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Helen Leonard (Website)

Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, University of Western Australia, Perth, WA 6872, Australia
Fax: +31 30 253 7417
Interests: rare diseases; epidemiology of intellectual disability; autism; Down syndrome; Rett syndrome; preterm birth; climate change; cohort studies; international registers
Guest Editor
Dr. Emma Glasson

Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, The University of Western Australia, P.O. Box 855, West Perth, Western Australia, 6872, Australia
Phone: +61 8 9489 7777
Interests: the epidemiology of developmental disorders; specifically including autism spectrum disorder; intellectual disability and Down syndrome; and the intergenerational patterns of health and illness
Guest Editor
Dr. Alison Anderson

Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, The University of Western Australia, P.O. Box 855, West Perth, Western Australia, 6872, Australia
Phone: +61 9489 7781
Interests: developmental origins of health and disease; health impacts of in utero exposure to environmental contaminants; bioinformatics approaches to investigating complex toxicity modes of action and health impacts of climate change
Guest Editor
Prof. Robyn Lucas

Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, The University of Western Australia, P.O. Box 855, West Perth, Western Australia, 6872, Australia, and National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, The Australian National University, Canberra, 0200, Australia
Interests: environmental effects on immune function; epidemiology; developmental origins of health and disease; autoimmune diseases; climate change; ultraviolet radiation; vitamin D
Guest Editor
Dr. Brad Farrant

Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, The University of Western Australia, P.O. Box 855, West Perth, Western Australia, 6872, Australia
Phone: + 61 8 9489 7711
Interests: early childhood development; effects of broader ecological factors like climate change; biodiversity loss and population growth on children's development now and in the future

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Recent research suggests that climate change is a major threat to the health and wellbeing of children worldwide, now and in the future. Overwhelmingly, the health burden caused by climate change will be borne by children, who may have less capacity to adapt or to avoid these new challenges to health. Current national and international emission reduction commitments are inadequate. Even if they are honoured, the global temperature rise by the end of this century is predicted to be double the internationally agreed ‘safe’ target of 2 degrees Celsius. We must better understand the full range of the increased risks to the health and wellbeing of children in order to prepare for, or alter, the expected impact.

Climate change will have wide-ranging effects on the environment and our interaction with it. There may be some benefits to health, for example very cold climates becoming warmer. But the breadth and magnitude of adverse effects are expected to result in a net negative impact on health and well-being for individuals and populations. Increased weather-related disasters, extreme climatic conditions and sea-level rise are likely to cause large-scale population migration and changes in disease patterns. Children will be at particular increased risk for multiple health outcomes including mental health disorders, malnutrition, and infectious and allergic diseases. Developing countries in tropical areas are likely to suffer most due to poverty, lack of access to clean water, poor sanitation, inadequate health care systems and high density populations. Reducing CO2 emissions has become a major global objective, but many additional challenges remain including the development of better outcome measures to assess child health impacts.

This special issue in Children will act as a forum to expand our understanding of the specific mechanisms that lead to increased health and disability risk for children, how risk might be better estimated and measured across time and geography, and how cost-effective strategies might be applied at local levels to enhance adaptation, or to mitigate effects of, region-specific impacts.

We look forward to receiving your contributions!

Prof. Helen Leonard
Dr Emma Glasson
Dr Alison Anderson
Prof. Robyn Lucas
Dr. Brad Farrant
Guest Editors

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Children is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. For the first couple of issues the Article Processing Charge (APC) will be waived for well-prepared manuscripts. English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.


Keywords

  • climate change
  • global warming
  • child health and wellbeing
  • climate sensitive disease
  • asthma
  • allergies
  • communicable disease
  • psychological distress
  • heat waves
  • floods
  • storms
  • fires
  • droughts
  • post traumatic stress
  • forced migration
  • food security
  • malnutrition

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Editorial

Jump to: Review, Other

Open AccessEditorial Tribute to Professor Anthony J. McMichael
Children 2014, 1(3), 457-460; doi:10.3390/children1030457
Received: 8 November 2014 / Accepted: 11 November 2014 / Published: 26 November 2014
PDF Full-text (224 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Emeritus Professor A. J. “Tony” McMichael (1942–2014) was an internationally renowned and pioneering Australian academic and advocate in epidemiology, who was passionate about understanding the influences of the environment on human health. In an illustrious career spanning more than four decades, he [...] Read more.
Emeritus Professor A. J. “Tony” McMichael (1942–2014) was an internationally renowned and pioneering Australian academic and advocate in epidemiology, who was passionate about understanding the influences of the environment on human health. In an illustrious career spanning more than four decades, he made significant contributions to the scientific community and policy discourse—including ground-breaking research related to the health of children. McMichael was a prolific academic writer with over 300 peer-reviewed papers; 160 book chapters and two sole-authored books. However, his outstanding talent was for integrating complex and seemingly unrelated strands from the environmental and health sciences into a cohesive narrative—and highlighting its relevance to lay persons, scientists and governments alike. He was instrumental in validating this nascent field of research and inspiring many others to follow his lead. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Climate Change on Child Health)

Review

Jump to: Editorial, Other

Open AccessReview Climate Change and Children: Health Risks of Abatement Inaction, Health Gains from Action
Children 2014, 1(2), 99-106; doi:10.3390/children1020099
Received: 25 June 2014 / Accepted: 28 July 2014 / Published: 14 August 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (211 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As human-driven climate change advances, many adults fret about the losses of livelihoods, houses and farms that may result. Children fret about their parents’ worries and about information they hear, but do not really understand about the world’s climate and perhaps about [...] Read more.
As human-driven climate change advances, many adults fret about the losses of livelihoods, houses and farms that may result. Children fret about their parents’ worries and about information they hear, but do not really understand about the world’s climate and perhaps about their own futures. In chronically worried or anxious children, blood cortisol levels rise and adverse changes accrue in various organ systems that prefigure adult-life diseases. Meanwhile, for many millions of children in poor countries who hear little news and live with day-to-day fatalism, climate change threatens the fundamentals of life—food sufficiency, safe drinking water and physical security—and heightens the risks of diarrhoeal disease, malaria and other climate-sensitive infections. Poor and disadvantaged populations, and especially their children, will bear the brunt of climate-related trauma, disease and premature death over the next few decades and, less directly, from social disruption, impoverishment and displacement. The recent droughts in Somalia as the Indian Ocean warmed and monsoonal rains failed, on top of chronic civil war, forced hundreds of thousands of Somali families into north-eastern Kenya’s vast Dadaab refugee camps, where, for children, shortages of food, water, hygiene and schooling has endangered physical, emotional and mental health. Children warrant special concern, both as children per se and as the coming generation likely to face ever more extreme climate conditions later this century. As children, they face diverse risks, from violent weather, proliferating aeroallergens, heat extremes and mobilised microbes, through to reduced recreational facilities, chronic anxieties about the future and health hazards of displacement and local resource conflict. Many will come to regard their parents’ generation and complacency as culpable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Climate Change on Child Health)

Other

Jump to: Editorial, Review

Open AccessCommentary Climate Change and Children’s Health: A Commentary
Children 2015, 2(4), 412-423; doi:10.3390/children2040412
Received: 21 August 2014 / Revised: 10 September 2014 / Accepted: 11 September 2015 / Published: 15 October 2015
PDF Full-text (509 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This commentary describes the likely impacts on children's health and wellbeing from climate change, based on the solid science of environmental child health. It describes likely climate change scenarios, why children are more vulnerable than older people to these changes, and what [...] Read more.
This commentary describes the likely impacts on children's health and wellbeing from climate change, based on the solid science of environmental child health. It describes likely climate change scenarios, why children are more vulnerable than older people to these changes, and what to expect in terms of diseases (e.g., infections, asthma) and problems (e.g., malnutrition, mental illness). The common antecedents of climate change and other detrimental changes to our society mean that in combatting them (such as excessive consumption and greed), we may not only reduce the harmful effects of climate change but also work towards a better society overall—one that values its children and their futures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Climate Change on Child Health)
Open AccessDiscussion Impacts of Climate Change on Inequities in Child Health
Children 2014, 1(3), 461-473; doi:10.3390/children1030461
Received: 30 June 2014 / Revised: 20 October 2014 / Accepted: 7 November 2014 / Published: 3 December 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (496 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper addresses an often overlooked aspect of climate change impacts on child health: the amplification of existing child health inequities by climate change. Although the effects of climate change on child health will likely be negative, the distribution of these impacts [...] Read more.
This paper addresses an often overlooked aspect of climate change impacts on child health: the amplification of existing child health inequities by climate change. Although the effects of climate change on child health will likely be negative, the distribution of these impacts across populations will be uneven. The burden of climate change-related ill-health will fall heavily on the world’s poorest and socially-disadvantaged children, who already have poor survival rates and low life expectancies due to issues including poverty, endemic disease, undernutrition, inadequate living conditions and socio-economic disadvantage. Climate change will exacerbate these existing inequities to disproportionately affect disadvantaged children. We discuss heat stress, extreme weather events, vector-borne diseases and undernutrition as exemplars of the complex interactions between climate change and inequities in child health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Climate Change on Child Health)
Open AccessDiscussion Will Global Climate Change Alter Fundamental Human Immune Reactivity: Implications for Child Health?
Children 2014, 1(3), 403-423; doi:10.3390/children1030403
Received: 10 August 2014 / Revised: 7 October 2014 / Accepted: 12 October 2014 / Published: 11 November 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (556 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The human immune system is an interface across which many climate change sensitive exposures can affect health outcomes. Gaining an understanding of the range of potential effects that climate change could have on immune function will be of considerable importance, particularly for [...] Read more.
The human immune system is an interface across which many climate change sensitive exposures can affect health outcomes. Gaining an understanding of the range of potential effects that climate change could have on immune function will be of considerable importance, particularly for child health, but has, as yet, received minimal research attention. We postulate several mechanisms whereby climate change sensitive exposures and conditions will subtly impair aspects of the human immune response, thereby altering the distribution of vulnerability within populations—particularly for children—to infection and disease. Key climate change-sensitive pathways include under-nutrition, psychological stress and exposure to ambient ultraviolet radiation, with effects on susceptibility to infection, allergy and autoimmune diseases. Other climate change sensitive exposures may also be important and interact, either additively or synergistically, to alter health risks. Conducting directed research in this area is imperative as the potential public health implications of climate change-induced weakening of the immune system at both individual and population levels are profound. This is particularly relevant for the already vulnerable children of the developing world, who will bear a disproportionate burden of future adverse environmental and geopolitical consequences of climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Climate Change on Child Health)
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