-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, March 27, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- High levels of
traffic-related air pollution greatly increase white children's
risk of being readmitted to the hospital due to asthma, a new study
Researchers looked at 758 children, aged 1 to 16, who were
admitted to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center for
asthma or wheezing. About one-third of the kids were white and
nearly two-thirds were black. Within a year after being released
from the hospital, 19 percent of the children were readmitted for
asthma, the investigators found.
White children exposed to high levels of air pollution caused by
traffic were three times more likely to be readmitted than those
with low levels of exposure, the study authors noted. However,
traffic air pollution levels did not affect the risk of readmission
among black children, according to the study published in the
current issue of the
Journal of Pediatrics.
"Although black children in our study had a higher rate of asthma readmission overall, [traffic-related air pollution] exposure was not a discernible factor for these children," lead author and pediatrician Dr. Nicholas Newman, said in a Cincinnati Children's news release.
"This suggests that other factors, such as social stress or other environmental factors, may be particularly relevant in this population," Newman added.
"For example, caregivers of black children reported significantly higher rates of psychological distress and were more likely to live in poorer housing conditions, with visible cockroaches or holes or cracks in the walls," he explained. Such factors may have a bigger impact on black children than traffic-related air pollution does, Newman suggested.
Asthma affects about 7.1 million children in the United States
and is the most common chronic childhood disease.
According to the study's senior author, Dr. Robert Kahn, the
study "adds to the evidence that [traffic-related air pollution]
exposure worsens the health of children with asthma."
Kahn, the associate director of general and community pediatrics
at Cincinnati Children's, said: "We hope that this study can inform
public policy. It may also suggest ways to personalize patient care
based on environmental risks."
The American Academy of Pediatrics has more about
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