Parents who said they understood climate change had a higher level of concern.
Chicago’s weather patterns and Lake Michigan water levels are influenced by climate change and are likely to affect more than 1 million children and adolescents. Rising temperatures and reduced air quality affect young people by increasing their risk of asthma and allergies.
These conditions also make outdoor play potentially dangerous, making it difficult for children to breathe, limit their movement and ability to breathe fresh, clean air. In turn, this may contribute to increased levels of childhood obesity. There is also evidence that climate change negatively affects infant health, causes food insecurity when healthy food supplies are disrupted, and can contribute to impaired mental health. in young people.
Matthew M. Davis, MD, MAPP, Chair of the Faculty of Medicine at Lurie Children, Executive Vice President and Director of Public Health Transformation at the Patrick M. Magoon Institute for Healthy Communities at Lurie Children, and Chair Department of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
The Voices survey found that Latinx parents are most concerned about how climate change affects their families (41% say they are “very concerned”), followed by Asian parents/ other (36%), White (29%) and Black (17%) parents. For parents with a high school education, 38% said they were very concerned about climate change affecting their families, followed by 32% of parents with a university degree or higher, and 22 % of parents with a university or technical school degree.
Everyone has a role to play in slowing climate change and improving children’s health. The United Nations ActNow campaign provides a mobile resource, One World, to build and track actions towards a more livable world. The campaign also proposes actions that, in different ways, can reduce greenhouse gases in the environment:
Save energy at home
Walk, bike or take public transport
Eat more vegetables, need less greenhouse gas
Reduce travel by plane, virtual meeting or train
Reduce food waste, to reduce methane
Change the energy source in your home to wind or renewable solar
Repair, reuse, reduce, recycle
Switch to electric car
Choose environmentally friendly products.
The City of Chicago has developed a 2022 Climate Action Plan to accelerate an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This goal includes a variety of initiatives to improve environmental quality. , including reducing carbon emissions, increasing household energy savings and improving public health.
This report is based on data from the Chicago Parent Panel Survey Voices on Child Health. The survey was conducted by Lurie Children and NORC at the University of Chicago with a sample of Chicago parents over the internet and by phone. The survey is conducted to the same group of parents three times per year. The data in this report was collected from May to July 2021. The sample included 1,620 parents, stepparents or guardians in Chicago with at least one child under the age of 18 in the household (known as “parents” in the household” report). The parents are from all 77 community areas in Chicago and the weighted data are representative of households with children across the city.
The population-focused child health study at Lurie Children was conducted through the Mary Ann & J. Milburn Smith Center for Child Health Outcomes and Research at the Stanley Manne Institute for Children. The Manne Research Institute is focused on improving children’s health, transforming pediatric medicine and securing a healthier future through the relentless pursuit of new knowledge. Lurie Children’s is ranked one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals in U.S. News & World Report and is a pediatric training affiliate for Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Last year, the hospital served more than 223,000 children from all 50 states, Washington DC and Puerto Rico, and 37 countries.