Improving knowledge about children’s environmental health in northwest China

Jingping Niu, Qingshan Qu, Juansheng Li, Xingrong Liu, Benzhong Zhang, Zhilan Li, Guowu Ding, Yingbiao Sun, Yanrong Shi, Yaxiong Wan, Xiaobin Hu, Lung Chi Chen, Alan Mendelsohn, Yu Chen, Leonardo Trasande

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The main purpose of this study was to identify policy maker opinions and attitudes towards children’s environmental health (CEH), potential barriers to child-specific protective legislation and implementation in northwest China, and evaluate knowledge and attitudes about CEH before and after an educational conference. We conducted seventy-two interviews with regional officials, researchers and non-governmental organization representatives from five provinces, and surveyed participants (forty-seven) before and after an educational conference in northwest China about CEH. Interviews identified general consensus among participants of the adverse effects of air pollution on children, yet few participants knew of policies to protect them. Barriers identified included limited funding and enforcement, weak regional governments and absence of child-specific policy-making. After the conference, substantially greater self-efficacy was identified for lead, mercury, air pollution and polychlorinated biphenyls (+0.57–0.72 on a 1–5 Likert scale, p = 0.002–0.013), and the scientific knowledge for the role of environment in children’s health (+0.58, p = 0.015), and health care provider control (+0.52, p = 0.025) were rated more strongly. We conclude that policy makers in Northwest China appreciate that children are uniquely vulnerable, though additional regulations are needed to account for that vulnerability. Further research should examine effectiveness of the intervention on a larger scale and scope, and evaluate the usefulness of such interventions in translating research into improved care/reduced exposure to environmental hazards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number80
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 25 2015


  • Air pollution
  • Children’s environmental health
  • Educational intervention
  • Policy making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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