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Climate Change and Maternal and Child Health

Use the information below to help integrate climate considerations into your existing public health practice.

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Program Area: Maternal and Child Health

Pregnant women, infants, and children are more vulnerable to certain climate risks.

Key messages

  • Infants and children can be disproportionately affected by exposures to toxins during fetal development and because they eat, drink, and breathe more in proportion to their body size. Children living today will experience cumulative health effects of climate change over their lifetimes.
  • As climate change affects our food supply (i.e. through agricultural stressors, rising prices, etc.), supporting local food systems becomes more important.

What can public health practitioners do?

  • Collaborate with partners like OSU Extension’s SNAP-Ed and Master Gardener’s program to educate participants on the benefits of growing and buying local food. Work with partners to assess and promote community assets that can increase local food security, such as community gardens at affordable housing sites, farm-to-school programs, and zoning code improvements.
  • Seek full support of the Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program and Senior Farm Direct Programs at the state policy level in coordination with partners like the Oregon Food Bank, Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon, and EcoTrust.
  • Work with partners to promote breast feeding and provide education on safe formula mixing.