How Does Flood Exposure Impact Mortality Risk in Different Demographic Groups?

How Does Flood Exposure Impact Mortality Risk in Different Demographic Groups?

Can Living in Flood-Prone Areas Increase Your Risk of Death?

Floods, a growing global concern, inflict fatalities, property damage, and disruptions to critical services. Their impact extends beyond immediate harm, posing long-term health risks as well. A recent study published in BMC Medicine delves into the association between flood exposure and mortality rates, shedding light on the potential risks faced by those living in flood-prone areas.

Flood Exposure and Mortality Risk

Using data from the UK Biobank, researchers examined the link between flood exposure and mortality outcomes over a decade. They found that long-term exposure to flooding increased the risk of all-cause mortality by 6.7%. This association was particularly strong for deaths due to neurodegenerative disorders, neoplasms, respiratory disorders, suicides, cardiovascular disorders, mental disorders, and digestive disorders.

Vulnerable Groups

The study identified vulnerable groups who faced higher mortality risks from flood exposure. Individuals with higher educational attainment and annual income showed increased death risks for most causes. Suicide-related mortality risks were higher among obese, non-moderate alcohol consumers residing in more deprived regions with lower income and lower physical activity.

Time Lag Effects

Interestingly, the study revealed varying time lags between flood exposure and increased mortality risks. The strength of associations reached its peak for neurodegenerative and mental disorders in the third and fourth years after flood exposure. In contrast, suicide-related mortality risks were highest during current times and decreased over time.

Implications for Public Health

These findings highlight the long-term health implications of flood exposure. They suggest that flood mitigation strategies and public health policies should consider the increased mortality risks faced by vulnerable populations. By addressing these risks, we can reduce the burden of disease and improve the overall health outcomes of those living in flood-prone areas.


The study emphasizes the importance of evaluating the long-term health impacts of flood exposure. By understanding these risks, policymakers and healthcare professionals can develop targeted interventions to protect vulnerable populations and mitigate the negative health consequences of flooding.

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By Deepika

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