Researchers are from the Columbia University. They have created statistical models to observe the factors that contribute to the mortality rate of the older people during winter in the United States. They have compared the temperature during winter and the death toll of the U.S. to France to determine how climate change could affect the health of older people.
Patrick Kinney, professor at Columbia University and the lead author of the study said, “For years I’ve been hearing people say that global warming will reduce winter deaths but I wanted to check this claim out for myself.”
The researchers have analyzed the data and found that the mortality rate remained the same even after interchanging cold winter with warm winter, and vice versa. France experiences warmer winter compared to U.S.
Then researchers concluded that climate change would neither be beneficial nor harmful to the health of the people.
Patrick Kinney said, “Most older people who die over the winter don’t die from cold. They die from complications related to flu and other respiratory diseases. Unfortunately the holiday season probably plays a part; when older people mix with the younger generations of their families, they come into contact with all the bugs that the kids have brought home from school.”
Flu and respiratory disease are considered for the most death, but researchers found that most winter deaths are due to slip and falls, heart attack and hypothermia. The researchers suggest that vaccination and good hygiene as the most effective interventions.
According to the national Center for Health Statistics or NCHS, every year about 2,000 people die in the U.S. due to weather related causes of death. About 63 percent of deaths occurred during winter season, compared to 31 percent death rate during the summer.
The findings of the study are published in the June 19 issue of the Environmental Research Letters.