Last Updated on December 31, 2022 by Dr Bucho
Pollination loss raises chronic diseases as it removes healthy foods from global diets and increases chronic diseases causing excess deaths. The study was published on December 14, 2022, in Environmental Health Perspectives at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Greater Boston – According to research led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, inadequate pollination has resulted in a 3-5% loss in fruit, vegetable, and nut production as well as an estimated 427,000 extra deaths per year from diseases linked to unhealthy food consumption, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers. It is the first study to calculate the cost to human health of a lack of wild (animal) pollinators.
Samuel Myers, principal research scientist, planetary health, Department of Environmental Health and senior author of the study. While addressing to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health he said “A critical missing piece in the biodiversity discussion has been a lack of direct linkages to human health. This research establishes that the loss of pollinators is already impacting health on a scale with other global health risk factors, such as prostate cancer or substance use disorders,”
According To Harvard T.H chan School of Public Health, Alarming biodiversity losses are the subject of the COP 15 UN Biodiversity Conference, which is now taking place in Montreal. These losses are being caused by growing human strain on natural systems. One consequence of this is a 1-2% annual drop in insect populations, which has prompted some people to predict an impending “insect apocalypse” in the upcoming decades.
Pollinators are important among insect species because they boost yields of three-fourths of crop varieties and are essential for the growth of nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Wild pollinators are in danger because to changes in land use, the use of dangerous pesticides, and the acceleration of climate change, endangering human access to nutritious foods.
Pollination loss raises chronic diseases
To determine how much crop loss was caused by insufficient pollination, the researchers used a model framework that included empirical data from a network of hundreds of experimental farms in Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America. They looked at “pollinator yield gaps” for the most significant pollinator-dependent crops. They next calculated the potential health effects of the variations in pollination on dietary hazards and mortality by country using a global risk-disease model. They also calculated the economic value lost due to lost pollination in the three case study nations.
The findings demonstrated that while the burden on health was greater in middle- and higher-income nations, where the prevalence of non-communicable diseases is higher, the lost food production was concentrated in lower-income countries. The regional distribution was a little surprising because often, the poorest communities in places like South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa are the ones most affected by the health effects of environmental change on a global scale. China, India, Indonesia, and Russia—large, middle-income nations—suffered the most in this area.
The investigation also revealed that lower-income nations lost significant agricultural income, maybe between 10% and 30% of the total agricultural value, as a result of insufficient pollination and lower yields.
Protection measures for wild pollinators affect not only the environment but also human health and the economy.
“This study shows that doing too little to help pollinators does not just harm nature, but human health as well,” said lead author Matthew Smith, research scientist, at the Department of Environmental Health.
“Pollinator deficits, food consumption, and consequences for human health: a modeling study,” Matthew R. Smith, Nathaniel D. Mueller, Marco Springmann, Timothy B. Sulser, Lucas A. Garibaldi, James Gerber, Keith Wiebe, Samuel S. Myers, Environmental Health Perspectives,
Grants from the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, Fifth Generation Inc., Weston Foods Inc., and the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets supported the study.
Inputs from: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Thanks for reading and Thanks for visiting Dr Bucho, Get the latest updates, Blog Posts, Food, wellness, Mental Health, news, Alerts, admissions, and latest posts on our website, and stay up to date with us and don’t forget to check our page Student forum, where we have some free tools for medical professionals and students