Climate change and child health: a scoping review and an expanded conceptual framework

Elsevier, The Lancet Planetary Health, Volume 5, March 2021
Hellden D., Andersson C., Nilsson M., Ebi K.L., Friberg P., Alfven T.

Climate change can have detrimental effects on child health and wellbeing. Despite the imperative for a fuller understanding of how climate change affects child health and wellbeing, a systematic approach and focus solely on children (aged <18 years) has been lacking. In this Scoping Review, we did a literature search on the impacts of climate change on child health from January, 2000, to June, 2019. The included studies explicitly linked an alteration of an exposure to a risk factor for child health to climate change or climate variability. In total, 2970 original articles, reviews, and other documents were identified, of which 371 were analysed. Employing an expanded framework, our analysis showed that the effects of climate change on child health act through direct and indirect pathways, with implications for determinants of child health as well as morbidity and mortality from a range of diseases. This understanding can be further enhanced by using a broader range of research methods, studying overlooked populations and geographical regions, investigating the costs and benefits of mitigation and adaptation for child health, and considering the position of climate change and child health within the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Present and future generations of children bear and will continue to bear an unacceptably high disease burden from climate change.