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Neighborhood Status Linked to Patients' Asthma and Rhinitis

Researchers find worse asthma in lower-status areas, poorer lung function in less populated suburbs

MONDAY, Jan. 2 (HealthDay News) -- The socio-economic status (SES) of a person's neighborhood is associated with asthma or rhinitis severity, according to a study in the January issue of the European Respiratory Journal.

Paul Blanc, M.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues interviewed 416 adults with asthma, rhinitis, or both. Using a computerized mapping process, they linked interview data with U.S. census information for each person's neighborhood, including socioeconomic factors such as home ownership, population density, average income, number of single-parent households and unemployment rates.

The researchers found that living in a lower SES neighborhood was associated with worse overall health and worse asthma-related quality of life, regardless of the individual's personal socioeconomic status. The researchers also found that living in recently built suburban homes in less populated areas was associated with poorer lung function, which may be due to suburbanites' higher pet ownership and larger back yards filled with allergenic plants.

"The ties between macrosocio-economic status and microhealth status in asthma and rhinitis need to be explored to more fully understand other potential explanatory mediators, to study possible regional differences in these relationships, and to better elucidate effects within socio-economic status strata," the authors conclude.

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