"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Cooking with 'dirty' fuel affects women's mental health.

with reference to 2.6 billion people – About half of the world's population, most of them in Africa, Asia and Central and South America – depend on biomass fuels, corresponding to wood and charcoal, or kerosene for cooking, heating and lighting their homes. are

In sub-Saharan Africa, about 85% of the population (about 900 million people) Rely on biomass or kerosene for cooking.

These fuels are sometimes cheaper and more accessible than clean and modern energy sources corresponding to electricity and gas in low- and middle-income countries. However, they arrive at a high cost to human health.

Burning biomass for cooking produces high levels. Household air pollution That the people living in the home inevitably breathe. contributes to it. More than two million premature deaths each yearmainly from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases corresponding to lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart disease, in addition to pneumonia in children.

In high-income countries, not having the ability to afford clean household energy has also worsened people's mental health. A recent UK study found that folks who couldn't afford to heat their homes had worse mental health than those that could. This is reflected in lower levels of life satisfaction.

However, there’s little research on the impact of lack of access to scrub energy for cooking on mental health in low- and middle-income countries.

To address this data gap, We did the survey More than 1,100 women who were the principal cooks of their households and lived in urban communities in Kenya, Cameroon and Ghana.

We hypothesized that ladies's mental health could also be more affected by biomass fuel use than men because they’re traditionally liable for preparing and cooking food in these countries.

Research has shown that ladies who cook primarily with charcoal and wood have an almost 50 percent higher risk of depression than those that cook with gas. We also found that ladies who had sustained two or more cooking-related burns in the course of the past yr were nearly 150 percent more more likely to have potential depression than those that had not been burned.

Women whose homes had no electricity were also 40 percent more more likely to be depressed than women with electric lighting. Finally, we found that spending more time cooking each week was related to lower mental well-being.

These findings suggest that enabling households to cook and light-weight their homes with modern fuels can have a positive impact on their mental health.

Women's experiences

There are several the explanation why a scarcity of access to scrub energy can impair women's mental health. These include reduced productivity, fewer employment opportunities and fewer food security than those with access to scrub energy.

Time can be lost as women often should walk long distances to gather firewood. Also, cooking with biomass fuel takes for much longer than with clean energy sources.

The lack of mental health research in sub-Saharan Africa stems partially from people's fear of being stigmatized in the event that they speak about anxiety, depression and other mood disorders.

Instead we asked participants about specific facets of their quality of life that they is perhaps more willing to reply using a survey instrument called the Short Form 36.

For example, we asked participants: “During the past 4 weeks, to what extent have your physical health or emotional problems interfered along with your usual social activities with family, friends, neighbors, or groups? ” and “During the past 4 weeks, have you ever done lower than you desired to due to any emotional problems (corresponding to feeling depressed or anxious)?”

One Kenyan woman reported that cooking with gas “saved time in the morning” so she could “get her child ready for school and get to work on time”.

Another Kenyan woman said that cooking with gas “has saved (her) some money that goes towards (her) children's education”, and that her “health is not what it used to be”. When (she) used charcoal.”

Inspiring change

While more research is required to look at whether mental health improves over time when families are supplied with gas or electric cookstoves, Our emerging research findings Looks promising.

We found that providing women in Nairobi, Kenya with stoves fueled by bottled gas reduced their stress levels, improved their diets and gave them more time to seek out latest jobs.

We hope these studies will provide further impetus to speed up the clean domestic energy transition in low- and middle-income countries. The use of “cleaner” cooking fuels worldwide by 2030 is one among them. United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

This too has happened. Recognized by the International Panel on Climate Change As an important goal for mitigating climate change, particularly by helping to scale back global temperature rise.

As our research shows, if this vital goal is met, there could also be a big, additional profit to mental health.