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Rural residents more vulnerable to extreme temperatures

ANI NEWS 2019-03-12 18:37:00

Washington D.C. [USA] Mar 12 (ANI): Extreme temperature leads to greater mortality risk to people living in rural communities than in urban areas, recent findings suggest. 
According to the study, the disparity between urban and rural mortality risk was found across the entire Chinese population, but was greater for women than men, and for people over 65.
“These findings go against the general assumption that urban residents are at a higher risk due to the urban heat island effect, which raises temperatures in cities compared to surrounding areas,” said researcher Stefan Hochrainer-Stigler.
“Risk is composed of three key elements - hazard, exposure and vulnerability,” said Wei Liu, co-author of the study published in the Journal of Environmental Health Perspectives.
It is well-known that extreme heat and cold cause deaths. Extremes temperatures can lead to both direct mortality from exposure, as well as exacerbate other ailments including heart and respiratory conditions. However, most previous studies on this topic have focused on developed countries, and very few have differentiated between urban and rural populations either in terms of temperature data or population exposure.
In the new analysis, the researchers used detailed weather, air pollution, population density, and mortality data from the province from 2009 to 2015 to estimate the numbers of urban and rural deaths attributable to hot and cold temperatures.
The new findings suggest that by leaving out important differences between rural and urban areas and populations, previous studies may have underestimated the overall impact of extreme temperatures on population mortality. (ANI)