The following is a summary of “Neighborhood environmental vulnerability and pediatric asthma morbidity in US metropolitan areas,” published in the AUGUST 2023 issue of Allergy & Immunology by Kannoth, et al.
Research has indicated that various factors, including demographic, economic, residential, and health-related elements, play a role in influencing susceptibility to environmental exposures. The vulnerability to environmental factors can worsen the impact of health outcomes related to the environment. To address this, researchers developed a neighborhood environmental vulnerability index (NEVI) as a practical tool to assess environmental vulnerability at the neighborhood level. For a study, they sought to investigate the connection between NEVI and pediatric asthma emergency department (ED) visits within three major US metropolitan areas: Los Angeles County, California; Fulton County, Georgia; and New York City, New York.
Separate linear regression analyses were conducted to explore the correlation between the overall NEVI score and specific domain-based NEVI scores (demographic, economic, residential, and health status) with pediatric asthma ED visits (per 10,000) in each of the three areas.
The linear regression analyses indicated that higher overall and domain-specific NEVI scores were linked to increased annual pediatric asthma ED visits. The adjusted R2 values demonstrated that the overall NEVI scores accounted for a substantial portion (at least 40%) of the variance in pediatric asthma ED visits. Additionally, the overall NEVI scores were more predictive of pediatric asthma ED visits in Fulton County. In each area, the NEVI scores for demographic, economic, and health status domains provided more insight into the variance in pediatric asthma ED visits compared to the NEVI score for the residential domain.
The study revealed a clear association between greater neighborhood environmental vulnerability and increased pediatric asthma ED visits across all three areas. However, the strength of this relationship and the variance explained varied among the different metropolitan areas. The NEVI could be a valuable tool for future research to identify populations requiring more resources to mitigate the severity of environmentally related health outcomes, such as pediatric asthma.