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Climate Change Is A Threat To Kids, Study

Update Date: Oct 29, 2015 12:09 PM EDT
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Climate change is posing a health problem to children, says the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in a policy statement Monday. The group has told politicians and other pediatricians to eliminate the threats from climate for children.

"Every child needs a safe and healthy environment and climate change is a rising public health threat to all children in this country and around the world," AAP President Dr. Sandra G. Hassink said in a press release. "Pediatricians have a unique and powerful voice in this conversation due to their knowledge of child health and disease and their role in ensuring the health of current and future children."

More details are available in the policy statement called "Global Climate Change and Children's Health."

The study showed that fluctuating climate and the resultant natural disasters "directly threaten children with injury and death," leading to trauma, stress and depression. They also threaten the children's nutrition, as they impact the harvest and quality of crops.

Moreover, illnesses and deaths due to rising temperatures have also been noticed. AAP's report points out that babies and high school athletes are exposed to heat-related illness, with 9,237 high school athletes falling ill or dying due to the heat.

Climate change and poor air quality could also lead to increasing incidences of asthma, mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever, West Nile virus, malaria and Chikungunya.

The health and government sectors needs to work on improving children's health. "Failure to take prompt, substantive action would be an act of injustice to all children," the report said.

Moreover, how climate change affects children also drives home a strong point.

"I think it makes it more real to people," Dr. Perry Sheffield from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai told CBS News."Sometimes it may be hard for people to relate to animals on other continents that they don't have a personal relationship with. But almost everyone knows a child who's asthmatic, so that can really drive it home."

The AAP policy statement was published in the online Oct. 26 issue of the journal Pediatrics.

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