People with asthma who live near areas of high vehicular traffic are almost three times more likely to be hospitalized or visit the emergency department for asthma-related incidents than those residing in low-traffic areas, according to a study in the UCLA Health Policy Research Brief.
For the study, researchers used the 2001 California Health Interview Survey to compile data on asthma. The authors then used Annual Average Daily Traffic values from the California Department of Transportation for the year 2000 to create a traffic-density measure for each CHIS 2001 respondent.
The study found:
- Adults with asthma living in areas of medium to high vehicular traffic had a 40% to 80% increase in incidence of chronic symptoms;
- ED visits and hospitalizations, as well as daily and weekly symptoms, were more likely for people with asthma in low-income households;
- Latino and black populations were more likely to be hospitalized or have ED visits for their asthma than whites, but whites were more likely to have daily or weekly symptoms; and
- Low-income and minority populations more commonly resided in areas of high vehicular traffic.