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Title: Climate variability and human anthropometric outcomes : evidence from India
Author: Poullas, Marios S.
ISNI:       0000 0004 9359 5647
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2020
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The World Meteorological Organisation defines Climate Variability as “variations in the mean state and other statistics of the climate on all temporal and spatial scales, beyond individual weather events”1. These variations can cause natural disasters, such as floods or prolonged droughts, which in turn may have numerous consequences for public health. While previous work has considered the health effects of extreme climate events, this thesis focuses on the full range of variability in precipitation and temperature as the exposure, and human health indicators, including attained or completed growth and nutritional status, as primary outcomes among both children and adults (Height-for-Age z-score (HAZ), Weight-for-Age z-score (WAZ) and Weight-for-Height z-score (WHZ) for children and height, weight and Body Mass Index (BMI) for adult women). Using this framework and utilising a large Demographic and Health Survey dataset, this thesis tested whether climate variability in India and more specifically in Uttar Pradesh, a large state that faces extreme fluctuations in weather patterns, is associated with short- and long-term effects on human health indicators, using a sample size of 32,498 children and 21,793 adult women. The investigation involved exploring the effect of climate exposure at the time of birth in children, the propagation of this effect to adulthood and its inter-generational persistence, using multiple linear regression models. Finally, the association of climate exposure at various times around birth with health outcomes was also explored. The outcomes of the analysis supported the hypotheses, indicating that the precipitation and temperature patterns in early life explain some of the variability in child HAZ, WAZ and WHZ, as well as in women’s adult height, weight and BMI. This can be assumed to reflect differential exposure to ecological factors associated with precipitation and temperature that affect early growth rate. Broadly the effects were negative, but at a more subtle level they had more complex components and also interacting associations, which are described later in detail. The associations were stronger mostly in the rural areas compared to urban areas and also the younger children were found to be more sensitive to climate variability than the older children. At the inter-generational level, the signal detected was positive but small and did not seem to denote biological significance. The investigation of the effect of climate exposure at various early life timings indicated that the effect varies between the different timings and the time of birth is not always the most sensitive one. Overall, the results suggest that there is no single association of climate with these human health indicators.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available