A study conducted by the researchers at the University of Vermont has found that rising temperatures due to climate change have been contributing to poor-quality diet and malnutrition in young children in many parts of the world.

The researchers said warmer temperatures are now among some of the traditional causes of child malnutrition and low-quality diets. The other causes include poverty, poor sanitation, and low levels of education.

The study was published Thursday in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

Study co-author Dr. Meredith Niles said, “Certainly, future climate changes have been predicted to affect malnutrition, but it surprised us that higher temperatures are already showing an impact.”

Dr. Niles is an assistant professor of nutrition and food sciences and a fellow at the university’s Gund Institute for Environment.

The study looked at diet diversity among 107,000 children, in 19 countries in Asia, Africa, and South America. It used three decades of temperature, precipitation, socioeconomic, ecological, and geographic data, according to U.S. News.

The researchers found that Asia, Central, and South America, North, West, and Southeast Africa had significant temperature-related reductions in young children’s diet diversity.

Diet diversity is the measurement of diet quality and intake of iron, folic acid, zinc, and vitamins A and D, which are essential for child development. Lack of these nutrients can cause malnutrition, a deficiency disease that affects one-third of children below 5 years of age. Another study co-author Dr. Brendan Fisher said, “Diet diversity was already low for this group. These results suggest that if we don’t adapt, climate change could further erode a diet that already isn’t meeting adequate child micronutrient levels.”