Heat Adaptation among the Elderly in Spain (1983–2018)

Miguel Ángel Navas-Martín*, José Antonio López-Bueno, María Soledad Ascaso-Sánchez, Fernando Follos, José Manuel Vellón, Isidro Juan Mirón, María Yolanda Luna, Gerardo Sánchez-Martínez, Cristina Linares, Julio Díaz

*Corresponding author for this work

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The capacity for adaptation to climate change is limited, and the elderly rank high among the most exposed population groups. To date, few studies have addressed the issue of heat adaptation, and little is known about the long-term effects of exposure to heat. One indicator that allows the ascertainment of a population’s level of adaptation to heat is the minimum mortality temperature (MMT), which links temperature and daily mortality. The aim of this study was to ascertain, firstly, adaptation to heat among persons aged ≥ 65 years across the period 1983 to 2018 through analysis of the MMT; and secondly, the trend in such adaptation to heat over time with respect to the total population. A retrospective longitudinal ecological time series study was conducted, using data on daily mortality and maximum daily temperature across the study period. Over time, the MMT was highest among elderly people, with a value of 28.6 °C (95%CI 28.3–28.9) versus 28.2 °C (95%CI 27.83–28.51) for the total population, though this difference was not statistically significant. A total of 62% of Spanish provinces included populations of elderly people that had adapted to heat during the study period. In general, elderly persons’ level of adaptation registered an average value of 0.11 (°C/decade).

Original languageEnglish
Article number1314
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Adaptation
  • Age
  • Health
  • MMT
  • Mortality
  • Prevention plan


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