In climate change perspectives, three inequalities have been well-documented: inequalities between (1) and within countries (2), and inequalities between generations (3). However, the gendered inequalities are and will be exacerbated by climate change consequences (4). An open-access chapter presents the most important issues of this question (4). Authors add a health perspective combined with climate change gendered inequalities.
A set of key points:
- Deaths related to natural disasters are higher among women. Their motor skills are generally lower than men (e.g., running, swimming, climbing). Also, they have a poor access to climate-related information.
- Women may be more “biologically vulnerable” during heat waves. High temperatures also are associated with complications in pregnancy and poor neonatal outcomes.
- Women are more exposed to indoor pollution (from fuel-wood stoves) and have higher burden to outdoor air pollution.
- Women are the worst affected by food insecurity because they are (most of time) responsible for cooking, feeding caring…. and they eat less.
- During dry seasons, women spend time and energy to collect water. It increases their risk of heat illness
You can find an interactive map displaying 130 studies that investigate how men and women are affected by climate change here .
- 1. Guivarch C, Taconet N. Global inequalities and climate change. In: The Routledge Handbook of the Political Economy of the Environment. Routledge; 2021.
- 2. United Nations Environment Programme. The emissions gap report 2020. 2020.
- 3. Thiery W, Lange S, Rogelj J, Schleussner C-F, Gudmundsson L, Seneviratne SI, et al. Intergenerational inequities in exposure to climate extremes. Science [Internet]. 8 oct 2021 [cité 27 déc 2021]; Disponible sur: http://www.science.org/doi/abs/10.1126/science.abi7339
- 4. Kommu V, Alexander D, Lingam L. Gendered vulnerabilities and health inequities. In: Climate Change and the Health Sector [Internet]. 1re éd. London: Routledge India; 2021. p. 90‑7.
In a preprint co-authored with G. Chevance et al. (1), we examined the associations between climate change consequences and health behaviors. We identified a set of (bi)directional associations between natural hazards, rising sea level, greenhouse gas emission, temperature increase and the following behaviors : alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, water consumption, preventive behaviors, sleep, food related behaviors and physical activity (PA) domains. We synthesized these associations with this figure.
This system map offers a “meta” and simplified perspective of previous studied associations. However, we did not include the potential associations between health behaviors. Indeed, these associations are not well identified and may be different in function of the time scale (i.e., daily associations vs long term association), study participant characteristics and assessment tools (see e.g., see the following reviews for PA sleep associations at short and long term (2,3)).
A recent cross-sectional study investigated the associations of long-term exposure to ambient air pollution with insomnia symptoms in a large Chinese sample. Furthermore, the authors examined whether PA domains had a potential “buffering effect”.
In the perspective of our review, it’s particularly relevant because we could improve the subsection about sleep, PA domains, and air pollution (4). Also, China is one of the most polluted countries in the world.
Strengths of this study:
- -residents >3 years in their current residence
- relative good measure of insomnia symptoms
- good control of indoor air pollution and environmental factors (e.g., temperature)
I synthesized Xu et al. findings with the following slides (4). A buffering effect of physical activity was found for leisure PA and moderate PA “doses”. High levels of total and occupational PA accentuated the air pollution – insomnia association. In brief, the potential positive role of PA varied in term of domain, dose and air pollution measures.
This study is a good illustration of health behaviors associations complexity. In a climate change perspective (i.e., higher level of air pollution in cities around the world in next decades), physical activity promotion and insomnia prevention/treatment strategies should be revised.
- 1. Chevance G, Fresán U, Hekler E, Edmondson D, Lloyd S j, Ballester J, et al. Thinking health-related behaviors in a climate change context: A narrative review [Internet]. OSF Preprints; 2021 [cited 2021 May 19]. Available from: https://osf.io/pb8vc/
- 2. Kredlow MA, Capozzoli MC, Hearon BA, Calkins AW, Otto MW. The effects of physical activity on sleep: a meta-analytic review. J Behav Med. 2015 Jun;38(3):427–49.
- 3. Atoui S, Chevance G, Romain A-J, Kingsbury C, Lachance J-P, Bernard P. Daily associations between sleep and physical activity: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sleep Medicine Reviews. 2021 Jun;57:101426.
- 4. Xu J, Zhou J, Luo P, Mao D, Xu W, Nima Q, et al. Associations of long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and physical activity with insomnia in Chinese adults. Science of The Total Environment. 2021 Oct;792:148197.