Environmental exposures and asthma morbidity in children living in urban neighborhoods

Elizabeth C. Matsui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


A substantial disparity in asthma prevalence and morbidity among urban children compared with their nonurban counterparts has been recognized for more than two decades. Because of the nature of urban neighborhoods, pest allergens, such as cockroach and mouse, are present in high concentrations in US urban housing and have both repeatedly been linked to asthma morbidity in sensitized children. In addition, there is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that concentrations of many pollutants are higher indoors than outdoors in both US and European urban communities and that exposures to indoor pollutants such as particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are independently associated with symptoms in children with asthma. Although environmental interventions are challenging to implement, when they reduce relevant indoor allergen and pollutant exposures, they are associated with clear improvements in asthma. Other modifiable risk factors in urban childhood asthma that have emerged include dietary and nutritional factors. Overweight and obese children, for example, may be more susceptible to the pulmonary effects of pollutant exposure. Insufficiency of vitamin D and folate has also emerged as modifiable risk factors for asthma morbidity in children. The identification of these modifiable risk factors for urban childhood asthma morbidity offers a ripe opportunity for intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-558
Number of pages6
JournalAllergy: European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2014


  • childhood asthma
  • folate
  • indoor allergens
  • indoor pollutants
  • mouse allergen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • General Medicine


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