Study says less educated, underprivileged more vulnerable to death from heat waves


SEOUL, July 21 (Yonhap) — Undereducated and unprivileged individuals are more vulnerable to the risks of death from heat waves, a study by a local research team said Friday.

In an article carried in the latest edition of the British journal Science of the Total Environment, the team led by Kim Ho of Seoul National University’s Graduate School of Public Health said that people with low levels of education and the economically needy were 18 percent more susceptible to death from heat.

The level of vulnerability was the same for residents of neighborhoods with less green space, with numbers rising to 19 percent for people living in districts with generally fewer numbers of hospitals, the study said.

Kim based his analysis on mortality rates in Seoul between 2009 and 2013, finding correlation with the number of deaths during the June-August period of each year, and the characteristics of individuals and the districts they lived.

“Our data show that mortality during heat waves is more likely where these individual and regional-scale vulnerabilities overlap,” Kim wrote in the article. “Our findings support evidence of mortality impacts from heat waves and provide a basis for selection to policymakers choose on the target groups to reduce the public health burden of heat waves.”


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