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- The Journal of Economic History
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- National Science Foundation
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Children, and particularly infants, have physiological, anatomic, and social factors that increase vulnerability to temperature extremes. We performed a systematic review to explore the association between acute adverse infant outcomes (children 0–1 years) and exposure to high and low ambient temperatures. MEDLINE (Pubmed), Embase, CINAHL Plus, and Global Health were searched alongside the reference lists of key papers. We included published journal papers in English that assessed adverse infant outcomes related to short-term weather-related temperature exposure. Twenty-six studies met our inclusion criteria. Outcomes assessed included: infant mortality (n = 9), sudden infant death syndrome (n = 5), hospital visits or admissions (n = 5), infectious disease outcomes (n = 5), and neonatal conditions such as jaundice (n = 2). Higher temperatures were associated with increased risk of acute infant mortality, hospital admissions, and hand, foot, and mouth disease. Several studies identified low temperature impacts on infant mortality and episodes of respiratory disease. Findings on temperature risks for sudden infant death syndrome were inconsistent. Only five studies were conducted in low- or middle-income countries, and evidence on subpopulations and temperature-sensitive infectious diseases was limited. Public health measures are required to reduce the impacts of heat and cold on infant health.more » « less
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Abstract Children (<5 years) are highly vulnerable during hot weather due to their reduced ability to thermoregulate. There has been limited quantification of the burden of climate change on health in sub-Saharan Africa, in part due to a lack of evidence on the impacts of weather extremes on mortality and morbidity. Using a linear threshold model of the relationship between daily temperature and child mortality, we estimated the impact of climate change on annual heat-related child deaths for the current (1995–2020) and future time periods (2020–2050). By 2009, heat-related child mortality was double what it would have been without climate change; this outweighed reductions in heat mortality from improvements associated with development. We estimated future burdens of child mortality for three emission scenarios (SSP119, SSP245 and SSP585), and a single scenario of population growth. Under the high emission scenario (SSP585), including changes to population and mortality rates, heat-related child mortality is projected to double by 2049 compared to 2005–2014. If 2050 temperature increases were kept within the Paris target of 1.5 °C (SSP119 scenario), approximately 4000–6000 child deaths per year could be avoided in Africa. The estimates of future heat-related mortality include the assumption of the significant population growth projected for Africa, and declines in child mortality consistent with Global Burden of Disease estimates of health improvement. Our findings support the need for urgent mitigation and adaptation measures that are focussed on the health of children.more » « less
Abstract Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) the causal agent for COVID-19, is a communicable disease spread through close contact. It is known to disproportionately impact certain communities due to both biological susceptibility and inequitable exposure. In this study, we investigate the most important health, social, and environmental factors impacting the early phases (before July, 2020) of per capita COVID-19 transmission and per capita all-cause mortality in US counties. We aggregate county-level physical and mental health, environmental pollution, access to health care, demographic characteristics, vulnerable population scores, and other epidemiological data to create a large feature set to analyze per capita COVID-19 outcomes. Because of the high-dimensionality, multicollinearity, and unknown interactions of the data, we use ensemble machine learning and marginal prediction methods to identify the most salient factors associated with several COVID-19 outbreak measure. Our variable importance results show that measures of ethnicity, public transportation and preventable diseases are the strongest predictors for both per capita COVID-19 incidence and mortality. Specifically, the CDC measures for minority populations, CDC measures for limited English, and proportion of Black- and/or African-American individuals in a county were the most important features for per capita COVID-19 cases within a month after the pandemic started in a county and also at the latest date examined. For per capita all-cause mortality at day 100 and total to date, we find that public transportation use and proportion of Black- and/or African-American individuals in a county are the strongest predictors. The methods predict that, keeping all other factors fixed, a 10% increase in public transportation use, all other factors remaining fixed at the observed values, is associated with increases mortality at day 100 of 2012 individuals (95% CI [1972, 2356]) and likewise a 10% increase in the proportion of Black- and/or African-American individuals in a county is associated with increases total deaths at end of study of 2067 (95% CI [1189, 2654]). Using data until the end of study, the same metric suggests ethnicity has double the association as the next most important factors, which are location, disease prevalence, and transit factors. Our findings shed light on societal patterns that have been reported and experienced in the U.S. by using robust methods to understand the features most responsible for transmission and sectors of society most vulnerable to infection and mortality. In particular, our results provide evidence of the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on minority populations. Our results suggest that mitigation measures, including how vaccines are distributed, could have the greatest impact if they are given with priority to the highest risk communities.more » « less
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We interviewed respondents from 19 sites in 16 low‐ and middle‐income countries (N = 3303) about the link between water insecurity and infant feeding. We then thematically analyzed their open‐ended textual responses. In each of the four domains (breastfeeding, non‐breastmilk feeding, caregiver capabilities, infant health), we inductively identified cross‐cultural metathemes. We analyzed the distribution of themes across sites quantitatively and qualitatively.
Water was perceived to directly affect breastfeeding and non‐breastmilk feeding via numerous pathways, including timing and frequency of feeding, unclean foods, and reduced dietary diversity. Water was perceived to indirectly affect infant feeding through caregiver capabilities by increasing time demands, exacerbating disease, undernutrition, and mortality, and requiring greater efficacy of caregivers. Respondents made connections between water challenges and infant health, for example, increased risk of infectious diseases, undernutrition, and mortality.
These findings suggest that water presents many, and sometimes unexpected, challenges to infant feeding. By systematically investigating biocultural pathways by which water impacts infant and young child feeding, it will be possible to understand if, and how, water security can be leveraged to improve child nutrition and health.