Inheriting a sustainable world: Atlas on children’s health and the environment

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Children are exposed to many different environments that have a profound influence on their growth and development. Environmental exposures, both adverse and health-promoting, do not work in isolation but interact with social and nutritional determinants of health to influence children’s health and well-being. Whatever the natural resources and level of economic development, for all countries and all communities, children represent the future – to be nurtured and protected. And as governments discuss sustainability in the face of growing populations requiring food, water, housing and other basic needs, investing in the health of children by reducing exposure to environmental risks has to be an overriding priority. Only in healthy environments do children have the potential to become healthy adults, capable of meeting the challenges of the future.

In publishing this book, we seek to promote the importance of creating sustainable environments and reducing the exposure of children to modifiable environmental hazards. The wide scope of the SDGs offers a framework within which to work and improve the lives of all children. To this end, we encourage further data collection and tracking of progress on the SDGs, to show the current range of global environmental hazards to children’s health and identify necessary action to ensure that no one is left behind.