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Higher Neighborhood Opportunity Tied to Lower Childhood Asthma Incidence

However, no association seen for social vulnerability index in early-life neighborhood

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 30, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Living in a neighborhood with higher opportunity during early life is associated with lower childhood asthma incidence, according to a study published online Aug. 28 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Izzuddin M. Aris, Ph.D., from Harvard University in Boston, and colleagues examined associations of neighborhood-level opportunity and social vulnerability (measured with the child opportunity index [COI] and social vulnerability index [SVI]) with childhood asthma incidence. The analysis included data from 10,516 children participating in the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes Program (Jan. 1, 1995, to Aug. 31, 2022).

The researchers found that high and very high COI scores at birth, infancy, or early childhood were associated with lower subsequent asthma incidence independent of sociodemographic characteristics, parental asthma history, and parity compared with a very low COI. The adjusted incidence rate ratio for asthma was 0.87 (95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.75 to 1.00) for a high COI at birth and 0.83 (95 percent CI, 0.71 to 0.98) for a very high COI at birth compared with a very low COI. These associations were driven by the health and environmental and the social and economic domains of the COI. There was no significant association between SVI during early life and asthma incidence.

“We can’t overlook this critical opportunity to inform place-based initiatives or policies to reduce neighborhood barriers and improve access to health and environmental or social and economic resources and, in turn, provide families with optimal environments needed to support their children’s well-being,” Aris said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed ties to industry.

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