Cold bedrooms harm children's lungs, research finds

Cold bedrooms harm children’s lungs: Otago research
Dr Nevil Pierse.

New findings from the Housing and Health Research Programme/He Kainga Oranga at the University of Otago show even small changes in indoor temperatures affect children's lungs.

Looking at more than a million temperature measurements in 405 homes, the study found that changes in children's bedroom temperature were much more important than changes in the living room temperatures.

Researcher Dr Nevil Pierse says the effects were greatest when children were exposed to very of less than 12°C, and that a decrease in was still detectable two weeks after exposure.

"Kiwi homes are much colder than those overseas. The WHO recommends children sleep in rooms no less than 20°C, and the harm of changes below 12°C is more than 10 times that of changes at 18°C."

"With New Zealand having one of the highest rates of asthma in the world, the research further confirms the importance of keeping our children warm at night." he says.

"Despite the success of the Warm Up New Zealand campaign which has seen around 230,000 houses insulated since it began in 2009, the benefits are not reaching the group that needs them most – tenants" he says.

Dr Pierse believes the progamme should be continued, supplemented by support for initiatives such as the recently-announced He Kainga Oranga and New Zealand Green Building Council plan to develop a that could pass or fail houses with a 'Warrant of Fitness' or 'WoF' type assessment.

The WoF will establish a minimum standard for rental accommodation and encourage improved housing performance over time, and is targeted to be ready later this year.

"As a new father myself, I know how expensive it is to keep New Zealand homes warm," Dr Pierse says.

"We must do everything we can to ensure warmer homes. It's critical to our children's growth and development, and reducing our extremely high asthma rates."

The research has just been published by the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Dampness key cause of asthma in children

Jun 27, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—The largest-ever worldwide study of the link between damp homes and respiratory and allergic conditions has significant implications for New Zealand children's health.

Cold homes cost lives

May 13, 2011

Cold homes cost lives and harm the environment, according to a BMJ editorial published today to coincide with a report commissioned by Friends of the Earth and written by Professor Sir Michael Marmot.

Recommended for you

Healthier foods available in neighborhoods

49 minutes ago

Changes to the federal food assistance program for low-income women and their children improved the availability of healthy foods at small and medium-size stores in New Orleans, according to research from ...

Adherence to diet can be measured from blood

1 hour ago

(Medical Xpress)—New results from the Nordic SYSDIET study show that it's possible to assess dietary compliance from a blood sample. This is especially useful in controlled dietary intervention studies investigating the ...

Noodles: Friend or foe? S. Koreans defend diet

3 hours ago

Kim Min-koo has an easy reply to new American research that hits South Korea where it hurts—in the noodles. Drunk and hungry just after dawn, he rips the lid off a bowl of his beloved fast food, wobbling ...

Pica in pregnant teens linked to low iron

13 hours ago

In a study of 158 pregnant teenagers in Rochester, NY, nearly half engaged in pica – the craving and intentional consumption of ice, cornstarch, vacuum dust, baby powder and soap, and other nonfood items, reports a new ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

freethinking
1 / 5 (2) Aug 16, 2013
This makes no sense. Temperature changes from day to night, often dramatic, is natural and humans have been living with these temperature changes for thousands of years.

Common sense test, this study needs more studying.