HealthDay News — Cooler days are associated with reduced probability of reporting bad mental health days, while hotter days are associated with increased probability, according to a study published online March 25 in PLOS ONE.

Mengyao Li, Ph.D., from the University of Georgia in Athens, and colleagues examined the relationship between temperature and self-reported mental health using individual-level data for more than 3 million Americans between 1993 and 2010.

The researchers found that cooler days in the past month reduced the probability of reporting days of bad mental health compared with the temperature range of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, while hotter days increased this probability. More recent cooler days had an immediate impact on the probability of self-reported mental health, while for sustained hotter days, no immediate effect was observed, and the probability of reporting mental health difficulties began to increase after about 10 days. To avoid an additional hot day in the past month, the estimated economic cost, measured in the willingness to pay, varied from $2.6 to $4.6 per day.

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“The promotion of mental health has — for the first time — been included in the United Nation Sustainable Development Agenda under goal number 3 (Good Health and Well-being) to be reached by 2030,” the authors write. “In a rapidly warming world, temperature increases pose a challenge to achieving that goal.”

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