Cold temperatures pose greater health risk than warm, India

Fu SH, Gasparrini A, Rodriguez PS, Jha P (2018) Mortality attributable to hot and cold ambient temperatures in India: a nationally representative case-crossover study. PLoS Med 15(7): e1002619. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002619

Author summary

Why was this study done?

Very few studies from low- and middle- income countries (LMICs) have examined daily hot and cold temperature effects on cause-specific mortality.

  • This is, to our knowledge, the first study to estimate cause-specific deaths attributable to daily hot and cold temperatures in India using nationally representative mortality data spanning a 13-year period.

What did the researchers do and find?

  • We used a case-crossover method and distributed-lag nonlinear models (DLNM) to assess the nonlinear and delayed associations between temperature and mortality risk.
  • We found substantial numbers of cause-specific deaths attributable to moderately cold temperature, which were approximately 12 times greater than deaths due to extremely cold temperature and 42 times greater than deaths due to extremely hot temperature.
  • Our results also showed that moderately cold temperature was associated with the highest number of deaths from stroke at ages 30–69 years and from respiratory diseases at ages 70 years and above.

What do these findings mean?

  • Public health authorities should consider the detrimental effects of moderately cold and extremely hot temperatures in their mitigation strategies, particularly as the absolute population totals in India exposed to moderately cold and extremely hot temperatures have risen by about 270 and 10 million, respectively, in the last three decades.
  • To provide reliable national estimates of temperature–mortality associations in other LMICs, large-scale and nationally representative mortality data are needed.

 

Comments are closed.