There is increasing interest in the effect of residential greenness on respiratory health in children with inconsistent results. However, there are no studies investigating the association between greenness around schools, a representative environment for children and childhood asthma.
To investigate the association between greenness surrounding schools and asthma in schoolchildren.
We recruited 59,754 schoolchildren from 94 schools in 2012-2013 from the Seven Northeast Cities Study, China. Greenness surrounding schools was measured using the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and soil adjusted vegetation index (SAVI) at buffers from 30 to 1000 m. Asthma symptoms were collected from validated self-reported questionnaires. Logistic mixed-effects regression models were used to estimate the associations between greenness surrounding school and childhood asthma after adjustment for covariates.
We found that greenness surrounding schools in all buffered sizes was negatively associated with the prevalence of asthmatic symptoms in schoolchildren. A 0.1-unit increase in NDVI was associated with lower odds of current asthma (odds ratio: 0.81, 95% confidential interval: 0.75, 0.86) and current wheeze (OR: 0.89, 95% CI: 0.84, 0.94) in children after covariate adjustments. Higher greenness was associated with less asthma symptoms in a dose-response pattern (P for trend < 0.05). The estimated associations appeared to be stronger in children exposure to higher air pollution level. The observed associations varied across seven cities.
Our findings suggest beneficial associations of greenness surrounding schools with childhood asthma. Further studies are needed to confirm our results.

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