Obesity is a risk factor to heat-related illnesses. This is an increasingly important public health issue because prevalence of adult obesity in North Carolina is at 29.7% and predicted to increase at 0.68% per year; and the mean global temperature is rising due to climate change, and the projection is for US temperatures to be about 1-2oC warmer by 2050. Our hypothesis is that with the combined predicted increase in obesity and ambient temperatures, the incidence of heat-related illness is expected to increase at an even greater rate than if obesity and climate change was considered independently.
This study integrates models already developed in the climate and health fields to estimate the excess incidence of heat-related illnesses in North Carolina between 2010 and 2050 due to the projected increase in prevalence of obesity and projected increase in daily mean temperatures. Prediction of emergency department visits for heat-related illnesses is attained by synthesizing models that estimate (1) projected prevalence of obesity using obesity data collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study; (2) projected daily mean temperatures from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5; (3) incidence rate of heat-related illness over a temperature threshold as calculated from Lippmann et al. (2013); and (4) increased relative risk of the obese to heat-related illness of US Army recruits during basic training as estimated by Bedno et al. (2010). This poster will present preliminary results from this study.
Bedno, Sheryl A., Yuanzhang Li, Weiwei Han, David N. Cowan, Christine T. Scott, Melinda A. Cavicchia, and David W. Niebuhr. “Exertional Heat Illness Among Overweight U.S. Army Recruits In Basic Training.” Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine 81, no. 2 (February 1, 2010): 107–11. doi:10.3357/ASEM.2623.2010.
Lippmann, Steven J., Christopher M. Fuhrmann, Anna E. Waller, and David B. Richardson. “Ambient Temperature and Emergency Department Visits for Heat-Related Illness in North Carolina, 2007–2008.” Environmental Research 124 (July 2013): 35–42. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2013.03.009.