Rockefeller Foundation Research Shows Connection Between Watershed Quality and Disease in Children

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Rockefeller Foundation Research Shows Connection Between Watershed Quality and Disease in Children

A University of Vermont-led study of 300,000 children in 35 nations says kids whose watersheds have greater tree cover are less likely to experience diarrheal disease, the second leading cause of death for children under the age of five.

Published in Nature Communications, the study is the first to quantify the connection between watershed quality and individual health outcomes of children at the global scale.

“Looking at all of these diverse households in all these different countries, we find the healthier your watershed upstream, the less likely your kids are to get this potentially fatal disease,” says Taylor Ricketts of UVM’s Gund Institute for Environment.

Surprisingly, the team predicts that a 30 percent increase in upstream tree cover in rural watersheds would have a comparable effect to improved water sanitation, such as the addition of indoor plumbing or toilets...

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