Impacts of social and environmental factors on asthma incidence from study in Cook county in Chicago Metropolitan Area.

For the attention of: Chicago Metropolitan Development Authority and Transport Department, and other similar metropolitan areas in and US and elsewhere. US Environmental Protection Agency, and US Department of Agriculture-Forest Services.

The problem: Cook County is witnessing a public health crisis where the prevalence of asthma is rising steadily. Studies have shown that socioeconomic status, tree cover, and access to medical care might affect asthma incidence and prevalence.

What we did and why: We illustrated the usefulness of a statistical technique (geospatial regression) in the analysis and presentation of spatially distributed asthma prevalence among the population with disabilities. This included minorities with the language barrier, non white population, age 17 and younger, and age 65 and older in the census tracts of Cook County, where Chicago Metropolitan Area located.

What our study adds:

• We found that aged 65 and older was associated with increased asthma incidence.
• With increasing access to healthcare services rise in asthma incidence.
• Tree canopy was associated with lower Asthma incidence.

Implications for city policy and practice: The need to:

1. Balance vegetation coverage and residential density.

2. Protect and balance distribution of vegetation cover, to remove the air pollution especially for improving air quality in the residential areas in the proximity of the industrial corridors.

3. Find solutions for old multi-use, and crowded buildings in high-density urban areas with poor air quality.

Full research article: Spatial association of respiratory health with social and environmental factors: case study of Cook County, Illinois, USA. Aynaz Lotfata & Alexander Hohl.