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Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health 2006;39(1): 81-86.
Relationship between the Exposure to Ozone in Seoul and the Childhood Asthma-related Hospital Admissions according to the Socioeconomic Status.
Ji Young Son, Ho Kim, Jong Tae Lee, Sun Young Kim
1Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health and Institute of Health and Environment, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.
2Department of Public Health and Management, and Institute of Environmental and Industrial Medicine, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea. jlee@hanyang.ac.kr
BACKGROUND: A number of studies have reported associations between the ambient air pollution concentrations and various health outcomes. Especially, ozone is well known for primary risk factor of asthma attacks. The results of a recent study indicate that the size of the effect on health outcomes due to air pollution varied according to several conditions, including age, gender, race and the socioeconomic status. Therefore, this study was conducted to examine the associations of ozone with the childhood asthma hospitalizations as stratified by the socioeconomic status (SES) at the community level in Seoul, Korea, 2002. METHODS: SES at aggregated levels was measured on the basis of average regional health-insurance rate per citizen in the area. We applied the generalized additive model to analyze the effect of ozone on asthma after controlling for the potential confounding variables that were capable of influencing the results. RESULTS: Our analysis showed that the number of children who were hospitalized for asthma increased as the SES of the residence area decreased. The estimated relative risks of hospitalization for asthma, as stratified by the SES of the community level, were 1.12 (95% confidence interval 1.00-1.25) in districts with the highest SES levels, 1.24 (95% CI=1.08-1.43) within the moderate SES levels, and 1.32 (95% CI=1.11-1.58) in the districts with the lowest SES levels. CONCLUSIONS: Our analysis showed that exposure to air pollution did not equally affect the health status of individuals. This suggests that not only the biological-sensitivity markers, but also the SES of the subjects should be considered as potentially confounding factors.
Key words: Ozone; Childhood asthma; Socioeconomic status
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