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Public health preparedness for the impact of global warming on human health

John J. Wassel, MD, MHS(c)

Abstract


Objective: To assess the changes in weather and weather-associated disturbances related to global warming; the impact on human health of these changes; and the public health preparedness mandated by this impact.
Design: Qualitative review of the literature. Articles will be obtained by searching PubMed database, Google, and Google Scholar search engines using terms such as “global warming,” “climate change,” “human health,” “public health,” and “preparedness.”
Results: Sixty-seven journal articles were reviewed.
Conclusions: The projections and signs of global environmental changes are worrisome, and there are reasons to believe that related information may have been conservatively interpreted and presented in the recent past. Although the challenges are great, there are many opportunities for devising beneficial solutions at individual, community, and global levels. It is essential for public health professionals to become involved in advocating for change at all of these levels, as well as through professional organizations.We must begin “greening” our own lives and clinical practice, and start talking about these issues with patients. As we build walkable neighborhoods, change methods of energy production, and make water use and food production and distribution more sustainable, the benefits to improved air quality, a stabilized climate, social support, and individual and community health will be dramatic.


Keywords


global warming, climate change,human health, public health, preparedness

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/ajdm.2009.0033

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