Heat and adult health in China
Given projected increases in the frequency of precipitation and temperature extremes in China, we examine the extent adults may be vulnerable to climate anomalies. We link nutrition, health, and economic data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey (1989–2011) to gridded climate data to identify which socioeconomic outcomes are particularly susceptible, including adult underweight incidence, body mass index, dietary intake, physical activity, illness, income, and food prices. We find warm temperatures augment the probability of being underweight among adults, with a particularly large impact for the elderly (ages > 60). Extremely dry and warm conditions produce a 3.3-percentage point increase in underweight status for this group. Consequences on nutrition coincide with changes in illness rather than dietary, income, or purchasing power shifts. Social protection targeting areas prone to excessive heat may consider supplementing bundles of goods with a suite of health care provisions catering to the elderly.
KeywordsClimate Temperature Health Adults China
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