International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 97–103 | Cite as

Public health impact of global heating due to climate change: potential effects on chronic non-communicable diseases

  • Tord KjellstromEmail author
  • Ainslie J. Butler
  • Robyn M. Lucas
  • Ruth Bonita



Several categories of ill health important at the global level are likely to be affected by climate change. To date the focus of this association has been on communicable diseases and injuries. This paper briefly analyzes potential impacts of global climate change on chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs).


We reviewed the limited available evidence of the relationships between climate exposure and chronic and NCDs. We further reviewed likely mechanisms and pathways for climatic influences on chronic disease occurrence and impacts on pre-existing chronic diseases.


There are negative impacts of climatic factors and climate change on some physiological functions and on cardio-vascular and kidney diseases. Chronic disease risks are likely to increase with climate change and related increase in air pollution, malnutrition, and extreme weather events.


There are substantial research gaps in this arena. The health sector has a major role in facilitating further research and monitoring the health impacts of global climate change. Such work will also contribute to global efforts for the prevention and control of chronic NCDs in our ageing and urbanizing global population.


Climate change Chronic diseases Non-communicable diseases Cardiovascular disease Kidney disease Causal pathways 



This research was supported by The Australian National University general facilities and not by any specific research grant.


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel/Switzerland 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tord Kjellstrom
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ainslie J. Butler
    • 1
  • Robyn M. Lucas
    • 1
  • Ruth Bonita
    • 2
  1. 1.National Centre for Epidemiology and Population HealthAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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