The UN report warns: it is a direct threat to the health of future generations. The main problem is air pollution and global warming.
The authors of the UN report, just published in the British medical journal The Lancet, say that although the overall health of children has improved over the past 20 years, today the situation is changing, for the worse. Climate change, junk food, marketing activities of cigarette manufacturers – are the main factors that directly threaten the health of children, and no country is doing enough to protect its young residents.
A team of 40 international, independent experts in the field of children's health, set up by the World Health Organization and Unicef, has developed a new indicator measuring children's ability to grow. It was created using data from 180 countries around the world regarding mortality, health, nutrition and education.
There were no surprises: rich countries lead the way, with Norway, South Korea, the Netherlands and France in the first places. At the bottom of the ranking were the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa: Central African Republic, Chad, Somalia and Niger.
The authors of the report took into account factors of “sustainable development” (e.g. evolution of CO2 emissions or income inequalities) and emphasize that “although many countries with high GDP have very good development index results, they are very low in the ranking when it comes to for contribution to sustainable ecological development. ” As for the poorest countries, they have the lowest greenhouse gas emissions, but are exposed to the most severe effects of rapid climate change.
Scientists have recognized that only nine countries are currently able to simultaneously achieve the goals of reducing CO2 emissions (set for 2030) and at the same time be in the 70 best results in the field of child development – are: Albania, Armenia, Grenada, Jordan, Moldova, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Uruguay and Vietnam.
“States must seriously rethink their approach to the health of children and adolescents, taking into account not only their current state, but also the protection of the world that they will inherit from us,” said former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, who was the co-chairman of a committee of experts convened by WHO and Unicef.
Among the threats to the health of future generations, the authors of the report emphasize the level of air pollution and the severity of climate threats.
“If global warming exceeds 4 ° C by 2100, according to current forecasts, it will have serious consequences for children's health: ocean water levels will increase, constant heat waves will come and diseases such as dengue and malaria will spread. Malnutrition will also be a problem, “the experts wrote in the report.
They also condemned the business practices that were sharply harmful to children's health, consisting in the marketing and advertising of ultra-processed foods, sugary drinks, alcohol, electronic cigarettes and tobacco products.
Many research indicates that industry autoregulation is not working, emphasized Anthony Costello, a pediatrician and former director of the bodytyjskiego Institute for Global Health. He referred, inter alia, to the fact that children are exposed to alcohol advertising during sports entertainment, and drew attention to the explosion of obesity among children and adolescents, which increased elevenfold in 1975 – 2016.