A Healthy Home
Children are more likely to be undernourished, causing them to be more vulnerable to health hazards.health and fitness Updated: Aug 21, 2003 20:07 IST
Children are often exposed not just to one risk factor at a time but to several simultaneously. They frequently live in unsafe and crowded settlements, in underserved rural areas or in slums on the edges of cities which lack access to basic services such as water and sanitation, electricity, or health care.
They are likely to be exposed to industrial and vehicle pollution as well as to indoor air pollution and to unsafe chemicals. Children are also likely to suffer from unintentional injuries (accidents) and poisonings associated with unsafe housing and consumer products.
They are more likely to be undernourished, causing them to be more vulnerable to environmental threats.
Many children are born at home, and spend a major part of their young lives there. But from conception, their health may be adversely affected by hazards in the home such as lack of sufficient water, indoor air pollution, inadequate hygiene, contaminated food and water, and many others.
The Priorities and Solutions for Creating Healthy Places
The risks to children in their everyday environments are numerous. But there are six groups of environmental health hazards that must be tackled as priority issues – household water security, lack of hygiene and poor sanitation, air pollution, vector-borne diseases, chemical hazards, and unintentional injuries (accidents). These risks exacerbate the effects of economic underdevelopment and they cause the bulk of environment-related deaths and disease among children.
For most of these priority risks, security, stability, emergency preparedness and economic development are key to overcoming them. While experience shows that even in underdeveloped economies, these risks can be significantly reduced, experience also shows that, in higher income societies, the overall burden of environmental diseases in children decreases - at the same time as the relative priorities change. Therefore, regions and countries will have to set their specific priorities to complement these global ones.