Countrywide analysis of heat- and cold-related mortality trends in the Czech Republic: growing inequalities under recent climate warming

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Year of publication 2024
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source International Journal of Epidemiology
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords Heat; cold; climate change; temperature; mortality; adaptation; inequalities
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Description Background: Only little is known about trends in temperature-mortality associations among the most vulnerable subgroups, especially in the areas of central and eastern Europe, which are considered major climatic hotspots in terms of heatwave exposure. Thus, we aimed to assess trends in temperature-related mortality in the Czech Republic by sex, age and cause of death, and to quantify the temporal evolution of possible inequalities.Methods: We collected daily time series of all-cause (1987-2019) and cause-specific (1994-2019) mortality by sex and age category, and population-weighted daily mean 2-metre temperatures for each region of the Czech Republic. We applied a quasi-Poisson regression model to estimate the trends in region-specific temperature-mortality associations, with distributed lag non-linear models and multivariate random-effects meta-analysis to derive average associations across the country. We then calculated mortality attributable to non-optimal temperatures and implemented the indicator of sex- and age-dependent inequalities.Results: We observed a similar risk of mortality due to cold temperatures for men and women. Conversely, for warm temperatures, a higher risk was observed for women. Results by age showed a clear pattern of increasing risk due to non-optimum temperatures with increasing age category. The relative risk (RR) related to cold was considerably attenuated in most of the studied subgroups during the study period, whereas an increase in the RR associated with heat was seen in the overall population, in women, in the age category 90+ years and with respect to respiratory causes. Moreover, underlying sex- and age-dependent inequalities experienced substantial growth.Conclusions: Our findings suggest ongoing adaptation to cold temperatures. Mal/adaptation to hot temperatures occurred unequally among population subgroups and resulted in growing inequalities between the sexes and among age categories.
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