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Climate impacts associated with reduced diet diversity in children across nineteen countries

Climate impacts associated with reduced diet diversity in children across nineteen countries

Niles, Meredith T, Emery, Benjamin F, Wiltshire, Serge, Brown, Molly E ORCID: 0000-0001-7384-3314, Fisher, Brendan and Ricketts, Taylor H (2021) Climate impacts associated with reduced diet diversity in children across nineteen countries. Environmental Research Letters, 16 (1):015010. ISSN 1748-9326 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/abd0ab)

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Abstract

It is widely anticipated that climate change will negatively affect both food security and diet diversity. Diet diversity is especially critical for children as it correlates with macro and micronutrient intake important for child development. Despite these anticipated links, little empirical evidence has demonstrated a relationship between diet diversity and climate change, especially across large datasets spanning multiple global regions. Here we use survey data from 19 countries and more than 107,000 children, coupled with 30 years of precipitation and temperature data, to explore the relationship of climate to child diet diversity while controlling for other agroecological, geographic, and socioeconomic factors. We find that higher long-term temperatures are associated with decreases in overall child diet diversity, while higher rainfall in the previous year, compared to the long-term average, is associated with greater diet diversity. Examining six regions individually, we find that five have significant reductions in diet diversity associated with higher temperatures while three have significant increases in diet diversity associated with higher precipitation. In some regions, the statistical effect of climate on diet diversity is comparable to or greater than other common development efforts including those focused on education, improved water and toilets, and poverty reduction. These results suggest that warming temperatures and increasing rainfall variability could have profound short- and long-term impacts on child diet diversity, potentially undermining widespread development interventions aimed at improving food security.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: climate change, child health, malnutrition, adaptation, nutritional security
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Food & Markets Department
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2021 08:23
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/30831

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