Prioritizing Children: Environmental Health Indicators for China

Understanding how environmental risk factors affect the health of Chinese children

Students dressed in the traditional clothing of the Lisu ethnic minority dance during a UNICEF field visit on March 9, 2016 at Shaohuiba Primary School.
Photo: Courtesy of Porsche


Children are especially vulnerable to environmental hazards due to their distinct biological and social characteristics. Globally, researchers tend to use children’s environmental health indicators (CEHIs) to link environmental factors and adverse children’s health outcomes.

This report identifies some of the most important CEHIs in China and hazardous environmental risk factors that could potentially undermine children’s health, including climate change, air pollution, industrial waste pollution, the built environment, environmental tobacco smoke and food safety, based on literature review and consultation with experts from universities and government agencies of environment sector and health sector. In this report, 22 highest-ranking indicators are selected as prioritized ones as they represent a China-specific set of trackable risks and outcomes and are referred to as core CEHIs.

The CEHI project represents a critical first step toward providing a safer and healthier environment for children in China. It must be followed by efforts to ensure that routinely collected, high-quality data to support each indicator can be captured, analyzed and shared with relevant stakeholders to guide policy that benefits children’s health.

This report was prepared by colleagues from the National Institute of Environmental Health, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (NIEH), UNICEF and Vital Strategies. It was produced as part of the Thought Leadership Initiative on Children’s Environmental Health Data and Indicators at UNICEF, East Asia and Pacific Regional Office.

Prioritizing Children: Environmental Health Indicators for China
UNICEF China, Vital Strategies
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