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Residential surrounding greenness and the incidence of childhood asthma: findings from a population-based cohort in Ontario, Canada


Several epidemiological studies have investigated the possible role that living in areas with greater amounts of greenspace has on the incidence of childhood asthma. These findings have been inconsistent, and few studies explored the relevance of timing of exposure. We investigated the role of residential surrounding greenness on the risk of incident asthma using a population-based retrospective cohort study. We included 982,131 singleton births in Ontario, Canada between 2006 and 2013. Two measures of greenness, the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and the Green View Index (GVI), were assigned to the residential histories of these infants from pregnancy through to 12 years of age. Longitudinally-based diagnoses of asthma were determined by using provincial administrative health data. The extended Cox hazards model was used to characterize associations between greenness measures and asthma (up to age 12 years) while adjusting for several risk factors. In a fully adjusted model, that included a term for traffic-related air pollution (NO2), we found no association between an interquartile range increase (0.08) of the NDVI during childhood and asthma incidence (HR = 0.99; 95 % CI = 0.99–1.01). In contrast, we found that an 0.08 increase in NDVI during childhood reduced the risk of asthma in children 7–12 years of age by 14 % (HR = 0.86, 95 % CI:0.79–0.95). Seasonal differences in the association between greenness and asthma were noted. Our findings suggest that residential proximity to greenness reduces the risk of asthma in children aged 7–12.



Mansouri R, Lavigne E, Talarico R, Smargiassi A, Rodriguez-Villamizar LA, Villeneuve PJ. Environ Res. 2024; Jan 30 [Epub ahead of print].

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