Geographic Modeling of Traffic and Asthma Rates (2006)

Mary Ellen Gordian, MD, MPH


The Institute for Health Studies, in cooperation with the University of Alaska Anchorage and the Harvard School of Public Health, was contracted to evaluate the relationship between the incidence of asthma in young children and their proximity to traffic.


This study was based on kindergarten and first grade children (1600+ students) in twelve neighborhood schools in Anchorage, Alaska. The primary assessment involved a survey of the parents of the kindergarten and first-grade students in the same neighborhood schools to assess asthma symptoms of the children, family risk factors, in-home factors related to individual risk of asthma, socioeconomic status, racial/ethnic identity, and the length of time the child has lived at this address.


The results showed that the odds ratio for diagnosis of asthma was 2.38 (C.I. 1.19-4.76) for high traffic exposure within 100 meters (p=0.068) and 2.74 (C.I. 1.34- 5.56) for high traffic exposure within 300 meters (p=0.024). This study indicated that living close to high traffic areas in an area with no other air pollution sources was a risk factor for childhood asthma.


Gordian ME, Haneuse S, Wakefield J. An investigation of the association between traffic exposure and the diagnosis of asthma in children. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2006 Jan;16(1):49-55. Abstract (pdf, 44 KB)


A presentation of the findings is available for download: Traffic as a Risk Factor for Childhood Asthma in Alaska (pdf, 394 KB).