CHICAGO, June 17 (UPI) -- Neighborhoods with restaurants, entertainment and diversity had lower rates of asthma than neighborhoods with churches or non-profits, U.S. researchers said.
Dr. Ruchi Gupta of Children's Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago focused on 287 Chicago neighborhoods where nearly 50,000 children grades K-8 were screened for asthma. Chicago has twice the national average asthma mortality rate.
"Previous studies showed that neighborhoods right next to each other with similar racial makeup had very different asthma rates; we wanted to see what else was going on in each neighborhood to cause such a disparity," Gupta, the study leader, said in a statement.
Civic-minded neighborhoods with more registered voters, restaurants, entertainment, cultural facilities and ethnic diversity had lower asthma rates than those neighborhoods characterized by churches and not-for-profit facilities where people were less likely to move, the study said. Other factors affecting the rate of childhood asthma included income and education, cockroaches, dust mites, mice and rats and exposure to air pollution, Gupta said.
"With these insights, we are better equipped to develop more effective interventions to help reduce asthma in children living in urban environments," Gupta said.
The study was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.