Publication Details

Feng, X. & Astell-Burt, T. (2017). Is neighborhood green space protective against associations between child asthma, neighborhood traffic volume and perceived lack of area safety? Multilevel analysis of 4447 Australian children. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14 (5), 543.


Heavy traffic is a source of air pollution and a safety concern with important public health implications. We investigated whether green space lowers child asthma risk by buffering the effects of heavy traffic and a lack of neighborhood safety. Multilevel models were used to analyze affirmative asthma cases in nationally representative cross-sectional data from 4447 children aged 6-7 years old in Australia. Case-finding was based upon a triangulation of affirmative responses to three questions on doctor-diagnosed asthma, asthma-related medications and illness with wheezing lasting for at least 1 week within the 12 months prior. Among children considered to be exposed to high traffic volumes and areas with 0 to 20% green space quantity, the odds ratio of affirmative asthma was 1.87 (95% CI 1.37 to 2.55). However, the association between heavy traffic and asthma was significantly lower for participants living in areas with over 40% green space coverage (odds ratio for interaction 0.32, 95% CI 0.12 to 0.84). No association between affirmative asthma and green space coverage was observed for participants not exposed to heavy traffic, nor for the area safety variable. Protecting existing and investing in new green space may help to promote child respiratory health through the buffering of traffic-related air pollution.

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