Graduation Year

2005

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Public Health

Major Professor

Dr. Yehia Y. Hammad.

Keywords

Asthma epidemiology, Environmental triggers, Socioeconomic deprivation index, Spatial analysis, Non-linear multiple regression model

Abstract

Despite an improved understanding of the disease, the prevalence of asthma and asthma-related morbidity continue to rise, particularly among minority and inner-city populations. Despite the growing epidemic of asthma, the surveillance of disease at the state or even local levels is very limited. Such information is very important to identify high-risk population groups and to design more effective community-based preventive interventions or risk management programs that may modify these trends. The study provided important information about spatial differences by the geographical area of residence and changes in asthma hospital admissions over time in the selected area. Environmental exposure to ambient air pollution by ambient particles, sulfur dioxide and ozone was a significant factor to explain the increase in asthma hospitalizations in simple regression analysis, but was not significant after the adjustment to area socioeconomic status characteristics.

Sulfur dioxide was the only significant independent variable in a multiple adjusted regression model of hospitalizations for childhood asthma, however, more detailed environmental exposure assessment by calendar quarter suggested that ambient air pollution by sulfur dioxide is not significant variable in the multiple regression model. Future asthma prevention interventions and risk management programs should address population groups described by such socioeconomic status characteristics as poverty, unskilled workers, single parent families with children, families having no vehicle available, people living in less crowded households or socially excluded conditions without adequate family members or relatives support, and also people residing in houses heated by fuel. Developed complex area socioeconomic deprivation index was shown to be a significant predictor of hospital admissions for childhood and adult asthma by zip code area of residence.

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