NAPNAP Addresses Effects of Climate Change on Children’s Health in Position Statement
NEW YORK, Dec. 9, 2021 – Climate change is a global crisis and public health emergency that disproportionately affects children, especially those of color and those in low-income communities. In its recently published position statement, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) addresses the effects of climate change on children’s health and outlines the role pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) play in improving children’s health.
Climate change directly impacts the physical and mental health of children and adolescents in all aspects of their lives. Worsening weather patterns decrease access to affordable, nutritious food and increase exposure to infectious vector and water-borne diseases. There is also an increased incidence of asthma and allergies caused by warming temperatures and respiratory disease from greenhouse gases and air toxins. Natural disasters and food and shelter scarcity lead to increased anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder for our children and teens.
According to the statement, the effects of climate change have also been found to have a detrimental impact on academic achievement, disproportionately affecting Black and Latino students in the U.S.
“Because children are more vulnerable to the physical and mental health impacts of climate change, it’s imperative that pediatric-focused APRNs and our pediatric colleagues are educated on the health effects of climate change to mitigate negative effects,” said NAPNAP President Andrea Kline-Tilford, PhD, CPNP-AC/PC, FAAN. “By educating families and vigilantly screening patients, we can help improve long-term health outcomes.”
Pediatric-focused APRNs are able to provide expert clinical care and can address the issue of climate change by: educating themselves and the next generation of pediatric-focused APRNs on the effects of climate change on the pediatric population; improve health care provision by identifying at-risk children and families; advocating for disadvantaged youth; collaborating with their community to help prevent and address the health impacts of climate change; and more.
The position statement was published in the November/December edition of the Journal of Pediatric Health Care and can be accessed online.
NAPNAP is an organization whose mission is to empower pediatric-focused APRNs and key partners to optimize child and family health and believes that responding to the adverse health impacts associated with climate change is an essential role for pediatric-focused APRNs and all health care providers who care for children and families.
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The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) is the nation’s only professional association for pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) dedicated to improving the quality of health care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults. Representing more than 8,000 healthcare practitioners with 18 special interest groups and 53 chapters, NAPNAP has been advocating for children’s health since 1973 and was the first APRN society in the U.S. Our mission is to empower pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nurses and key partners to optimize child and family health. www.NAPNAP.org