One of the most effective ways to promote children’s health is to reduce air pollution, according to a meta-analysis of 45 studies exploring the link between air pollution and stunting.

The researchers from Vital Strategies found that air pollution significantly increases the risk of stunting in children, a risk that begins in the womb as mothers inhale fine particulate matter and continues throughout their childhood.

Stunting is when a child is unable to reach their full physical and cognitive potential because of external factors such as poor nutrition, and it’s determined by the age of 5.

Household air pollution, in particular, has been linked to harmful effects such as stunting, according to the report.

“The impact of air pollution on stunting is similar to air pollution on any other health outcome,” Vivian Pun, an epidemiologist in Vital Strategies' Environmental Health Division and one of the report’s authors, told Global Citizen.

“There’s really no threshold at which air pollution wouldn’t have an impact. It's particularly important because it has huge implications on childhood health in the short term, but there are also long-term implications into adolescence and adulthood, impacting not only height and physical development, but also cognitive and socioemotional development,” she said.

Read the full article about air pollution by Joe McCarthy at Global Citizen.