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Child asthma improves by parks

Friday September 8th, 2017

City-dwelling children with asthma are likely to benefit from living close to a park or green space, a European conference is to hear.

Kelli DePriest, a public health nurse at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and Medicine and the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA, said the findings of her study provide further support for the benefits of city parks.

She will tell delegates at the European Respiratory Society International Congress 2017 in Milan, Italy, about the research, which examined inner-city children with persistent asthma and compared the number of days the youngsters suffered with symptoms.

They interviewed the parents of 196 children, aged between three and 12, all of whom had either visited accident and emergency at least twice or been hospitalised for their asthma over the past year.

They were asked a series of questions, including how many days each child had suffered with symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain and wheezing. At the same time, they mapped the distances between the children’s home addresses and the closest green space.

The findings showed that youngsters had one extra day of asthma symptoms for every 305 metres between their home and the park.

DePriest will tell congress: “The effect looks strongest for children aged six years and older. This might be because they have more freedom to choose where they want to go compared to younger children.

“These results are important because they provide further support for the benefits of city parks, and they suggest that the right building policies can improve children’s health.

“They will also help healthcare providers to take a more holistic view of their patients by understanding how access to green space might affect health.”

Abstract no: PA2647, Access to greenspace and asthma symptoms in urban children with persistent asthma, Air Pollution, 12:50, Monday 11 September, Hall 4

Tags: Allergies & Asthma | Child Health | Europe | North America | Respiratory

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