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Asthma is a public health and environmental issue that disproportionately affects minority children, particularly those living in heavily polluted areas. This study examined the association between reported neighborhood traffic (a proxy for traffic-related air pollution) and asthma among 855 multi-racial children aged 4–8 years old who participated in the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) study.

The ECHO study was conducted over 12 sites from May 2017 through April 2019. Data on the children’s asthma symptoms and neighborhood traffic were gathered from the children’s parents. The survey tool used was the Pre-PAQ (Q22) on neighborhood factors. The outcome variables measured included wheezing, coughing, and other asthma-related symptoms.

The relationship between neighborhood traffic and asthma/asthma-like symptoms was analyzed using logistic regression and controlled for age, family history of asthma, home environment play equipment, maternal education, obesity, public parks, prescribed asthma medication, race/ethnicity, and sex. 

It was found that 13% of participants had doctor-diagnosed asthma, 23% had asthma/asthma-like symptoms, and 15% were exposed to high neighborhood traffic. Black children were found to be significantly more likely to be exposed to neighborhood traffic than non-Hispanic white children. 

The study ultimately concluded that children exposed to high neighborhood traffic have stronger odds of having asthma/asthma-like symptoms than children without exposure to neighborhood traffic [adjusted OR: 2.01 (95% CI: 1.12, 3.62)]. A call to action is made, advocating for further research and characterization of neighborhood traffic and child asthma, especially within racial/ethnic minority communities [1].


[1] Commodore, S., Ferguson, P. L., Neelon, B., Newman, R., Grobman, W., Tita, A., Pearce, J., Bloom, M. S., Svendsen, E., Roberts, J., Skupski, D., Sciscione, A., Palomares, K., Miller, R., Wapner, R., Vena, J. E., & Hunt, K. J. (2020). Reported Neighborhood Traffic and the Odds of Asthma/Asthma-Like Symptoms: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of a Multi-Racial Cohort of Children. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(1), 243. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18010243

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