Limits...
Socio-cultural reflections on heat in Australia with implications for health and climate change adaptation.

Banwell C, Dixon J, Bambrick H, Edwards F, Kjellström T - Glob Health Action (2012)

Bottom Line: Australia has a hot climate with maximum summer temperatures in its major cities frequently exceeding 35°C.The use of air-conditioning was near universal, but with recognition that increasing energy costs may become more prohibitive over time.Australians' attitudes may contribute to the ill-health and mortality associated with excessive heat.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

ABSTRACT

Background: Australia has a hot climate with maximum summer temperatures in its major cities frequently exceeding 35°C. Although 'heat waves' are an annual occurrence, the associated heat-related deaths among vulnerable groups, such as older people, suggest that Australians could be better prepared to deal with extreme heat.

Objective: To understand ways in which a vulnerable sub-population adapt their personal behaviour to cope with heat within the context of Australians' relationship with heat.

Design: We draw upon scientific, historical and literary sources and on a set of repeat interviews in the suburbs of Western Sydney with eight older participants and two focus group discussions. We discuss ways in which this group of older people modifies their behaviour to adapt to heat, and reflect on manifestations of Australians' ambivalence towards heat.

Results: Participants reported a number of methods for coping with extreme heat, including a number of methods of personal cooling, changing patterns of daily activity and altering dietary habits. The use of air-conditioning was near universal, but with recognition that increasing energy costs may become more prohibitive over time.

Conclusions: While a number of methods are employed by older people to stay cool, these may become limited in the future. Australians' attitudes may contribute to the ill-health and mortality associated with excessive heat.

Show MeSH

Related in: MedlinePlus

Annual maximum temperatures recorded at Badgery's Creek, at the centre of the study region.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3475099&req=5

Figure 0003: Annual maximum temperatures recorded at Badgery's Creek, at the centre of the study region.

Mentions: Western Sydney is an area of rapidly expanding suburbs on the inland side of Sydney where green space and trees are being replaced by new commercial and domestic developments. As it is inland and not tempered by coastal climate, average temperatures in Western Sydney can be high in summer (Fig. 3).


Socio-cultural reflections on heat in Australia with implications for health and climate change adaptation.

Banwell C, Dixon J, Bambrick H, Edwards F, Kjellström T - Glob Health Action (2012)

Annual maximum temperatures recorded at Badgery's Creek, at the centre of the study region.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3475099&req=5

Figure 0003: Annual maximum temperatures recorded at Badgery's Creek, at the centre of the study region.
Mentions: Western Sydney is an area of rapidly expanding suburbs on the inland side of Sydney where green space and trees are being replaced by new commercial and domestic developments. As it is inland and not tempered by coastal climate, average temperatures in Western Sydney can be high in summer (Fig. 3).

Bottom Line: Australia has a hot climate with maximum summer temperatures in its major cities frequently exceeding 35°C.The use of air-conditioning was near universal, but with recognition that increasing energy costs may become more prohibitive over time.Australians' attitudes may contribute to the ill-health and mortality associated with excessive heat.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

ABSTRACT

Background: Australia has a hot climate with maximum summer temperatures in its major cities frequently exceeding 35°C. Although 'heat waves' are an annual occurrence, the associated heat-related deaths among vulnerable groups, such as older people, suggest that Australians could be better prepared to deal with extreme heat.

Objective: To understand ways in which a vulnerable sub-population adapt their personal behaviour to cope with heat within the context of Australians' relationship with heat.

Design: We draw upon scientific, historical and literary sources and on a set of repeat interviews in the suburbs of Western Sydney with eight older participants and two focus group discussions. We discuss ways in which this group of older people modifies their behaviour to adapt to heat, and reflect on manifestations of Australians' ambivalence towards heat.

Results: Participants reported a number of methods for coping with extreme heat, including a number of methods of personal cooling, changing patterns of daily activity and altering dietary habits. The use of air-conditioning was near universal, but with recognition that increasing energy costs may become more prohibitive over time.

Conclusions: While a number of methods are employed by older people to stay cool, these may become limited in the future. Australians' attitudes may contribute to the ill-health and mortality associated with excessive heat.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus