The United States has the highest rate of winter deaths among developed countries, according to a new report.
The study released Monday by the World Health Organization’s International Centre for Injury Prevention and Control said the country has nearly twice the rate of people dying from heatstroke than other countries, and that the rates are rising even as the temperature has fallen.
The rate of heatstroke deaths has increased since 2008, when the first annual report was issued, the report said.
The report’s authors attributed the rise to increased use of outdoor equipment, and said some people may choose to walk rather than run when they’re out in cold weather.
“We know that many people are using outdoor equipment for recreation, such as sports, and not doing the proper preparation,” Dr. Daniel Trenberth, WHO’s assistant director-general for health policy and strategy, said in a statement.
“It is important to note that outdoor recreation equipment is not necessarily dangerous, but people should be mindful of the risks associated with using outdoor activities and equipment.”
Heatstroke is a chronic disease caused by high body temperatures, high blood pressure, and heart failure.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in 2016 that there were more than 2.5 million cases of heat-related death in the United States.
“This is the most comprehensive review of all causes of heat stroke that has been conducted in the U.S. and that we know of,” Dr Trenar said.
Heatstroke deaths have risen steadily in recent years, and the WHO study found that the average death rate rose by a little over 2 per 100,000 people in the last 20 years.
The findings came as a major blow to the Trump administration, which has said that it would roll back environmental protections, including the Clean Power Plan that is designed to curb carbon emissions from power plants.
The rule, which is set to take effect in 2021, was put in place to slow global warming and protect public health.
The U.K. also released a new study Monday saying that the number of people who die from heat stroke has risen significantly in recent decades.
According to the latest data from the Royal College of Physicians, a health advisory body, the number is 2,500 more deaths annually from heat exhaustion than it was in the 1960s.
That number rose from 1,700 in 1966 to 2,600 in 2008.
The rise in heat-induced deaths is in stark contrast to the rise in the number who die of other chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and lung cancer.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last month found that chronic conditions such as heart disease and cancer have declined in the past 50 years while rates of stroke, diabetes, and high blood sugar have increased.