What Happens When Climate Change Impacts Quality Of Food? An Expert Decodes

What are the different ways in which climate change worsens your health? What kind of health issues can it lead to?

2 min read

Video Editor: Anoushka Rajesh

"The effect of extreme weather events are very clear. But, people do not really understand the impact on food systems and agriculture. Their impact on nutrition, and in turn, on health," Says Dr K Srinath Reddy, Cardiologist, and former President, Public Health Foundation of India.

In his new book, Pulse to Planet: The Long Lifeline of Human Health, Dr Reddy documents how various socio-economic and environmental factors outside and within our bodies come together to determine our health, and just how easy it is to disrupt this delicate balance.

Speaking to FIT, Dr Srinath Reddy elaborates on one of these factors, climate change, and all the less obvious ways in which it affects our health.


What is Compromised? Nutrition, Water, Air We Breathe

  • Food quality is compromised

Everything you need for good nutrition, for promoting immunity to protect ourselves against a variety of diseases are all going to be compromised by climate change, according to Dr Srinath Reddy.

"Even one degree rise in temperature will lead to nearly 10 percent decrease in the production of staples," he says.

"We will see falling levels of zinc, iron and protein. In India cases of aneimia and iron deficiency will go up, particularly among women and children."
Dr Srinath Reddy
  • Higher risk of non-communicable diseases

We're going to see a number of non-communicable diseases like heart issues and diabtes. "We also know that cancer cases are going to be on the rise," he adds.

"Heatstroke and water stress can cause heart attacks too."
Dr Srinath Reddy
  • Impact on pregnancy and childbirth

"Not only does it impact pregnancy and fertility, but now we know it affects the foetus too, and increases the risk of still births.

  • Air pollution

"When there is an increase in CO2 going up into the atmosphere, the carbon dioxide dome descends lower," explains Dr Reddy.

What Can You Do?

"This is why all of us must act together, says Dr Reddy.

"We can mitigate the effects of climate change in the moment, but also adapt much better to the changes," he adds.

Heat action plans in urban areas, and climate-resilient crops are two ways in which this can be done.

Dr Reddy goes on to say that we must tackle specific issues, but at the same time, we must try and tackle the larger picture too by understand these various connection.


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