Effects of Climate Change on Health

At a glance

A changing climate can affect our health in many ways.

How Climate Change Impacts Health

Climate change, together with other natural and human-made health stressors, influences human health and disease in numerous ways. Some existing health threats will intensify and new health threats will emerge. Not everyone is equally at risk. Important considerations include age, economic resources, and location.

In the United States, public health can be affected by disruptions of physical, biological, and ecological systems, including disturbances originating here and elsewhere. The health effects of these disruptions include increased respiratory and cardiovascular disease, injuries and premature deaths related to extreme weather events, changes in the prevalence and geographical distribution of food- and water-borne illnesses and other infectious diseases, and threats to mental health.

For more information on the health effects of climate change, visit the Third National Climate Assessment's Health Chapter, Fourth National Climate Assessment's Health Chapter, and the USGCRP Climate and Health Assessment.

For more on the effects of climate change on health in different regions, see "Preparing for the Regional Health Impacts of Climate Change in the United States."

For more information about how climate change disproportionately affects some communities, visit CDC's webpage on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) in climate adaptation planning.