Effects of air pollution on asthma hospitalization rates in different age groups in metropolitan cities of Korea

Minjeong Park, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Many studies have shown relationships between air pollution and the rate of hospital admissions for asthma. A few studies have controlled for age-specific effects by adding separate smoothing functions for each age group. However, it has not yet been reported whether air pollution effects are significantly different for different age groups. This lack of information is the motivation for this study, which tests the hypothesis that air pollution effects on asthmatic hospital admissions are significantly different by age groups. Each air pollutant's effect on asthmatic hospital admissions by age groups was estimated separately. In this study, daily time-series data for hospital admission rates from seven cities in Korea from June 1999 through 2003 were analyzed. The outcome variable, daily hospital admission rates for asthma, was related to five air pollutants which were used as the independent variables, namely particulate matter <10 micrometers>(μm) in aerodynamic diameter (PM10), carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and sulfur dioxide (SO2). Meteorological variables were considered as confounders. Admission data were divided into three age groups: children (<15 years of>age), adults (ages 15-64), and elderly (≥ 65 years of age). The adult age group was considered to be the reference group for each city. In order to estimate age-specific air pollution effects, the analysis was separated into two stages. In the first stage, Generalized Additive Models (GAMs) with cubic spline for smoothing were applied to estimate the age-city-specific air pollution effects on asthmatic hospital admission rates by city and age group. In the second stage, the Bayesian Hierarchical Model with non-informative prior which has large variance was used to combine city-specific effects by age groups. The hypothesis test showed that the effects of PM10, CO and NO2 were significantly different by age groups. Assuming that the air pollution effect for adults is zero as a reference, age-specific air pollution effects were: -0.00154 (95% confidence interval(CI)= (-0.0030,-0.0001)) for children and 0.00126 (95% CI = (0.0006, 0.0019)) for the elderly for PM 10; -0.0195 (95% CI = (-0.0386,-0.0004)) for children for CO; and 0.00494 (95% CI = (0.0028, 0.0071)) for the elderly for NO2. Relative rates (RRs) were 1.008 (95% CI = (1.000-1.017)) in adults and 1.021 (95% CI = (1.012-1.030)) in the elderly for every 10 μg/m3 increase of PM10 , 1.019 (95% CI = (1.005-1.033)) in adults and 1.022 (95% CI = (1.012-1.033)) in the elderly for every 0.1 part per million (ppm) increase of CO; 1.006 (95%CI = (1.002-1.009)) and 1.019 (95%CI = (1.007-1.032)) in the elderly for every 1 part per billion (ppb) increase of NO2 and SO2, respectively. Asthma hospital admissions were significantly increased for PM10 and CO in adults, and for PM10, CO, NO2 and SO2 in the elderly.

Subject Area

Environmental Health|Public health

Recommended Citation

Park, Minjeong, "Effects of air pollution on asthma hospitalization rates in different age groups in metropolitan cities of Korea" (2010). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1475395.