More Restaurants, Less Childhood Asthma?

A recently released study of Chicago children sheds new light on asthma

Four Chicago doctors have released a study indicating that children growing up in more vibrant neighborhoods -- with lots of restaurants, entertainment and ethnic diversity, according to the Chi-Town Daily News -- have a lower incidence of asthma than in neighborhoods lacking those amenities.

The study tracked about 50,000 children over two years and found that children in more stable neighborhoods, where residents rarely changed homes, have higher asthma rates than those in areas with a more mobile population.

The study's lead author, Dr. Ruchi Gupta, a professor at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine and a researcher at Children's Memorial Hospital, said one reason for the disparity may be that homes in so-called stable neighborhoods are not cleaned as often or thoroughly, causing a rise in allergens, like dust mites.

The Chi-Town Daily News sites the study, recently published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, as claiming that there is a fair distribution of medical resources throughout Chicago, a claim others may dispute.

Despite that, the study concludes that, "asthma prevalence in Chicago is strongly associated with socio-environmental factors thought to enrich a community."

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