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Child Asthma Risks Lower in Leafy Suburbs
Detail: New research, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, found asthma rates fell by 29 per cent each time the density of trees increased by 350 per square kilometre. Previous studies have shown that living near busy roads increases a child's risk of suffering from asthma suggesting air pollution may be responsible. Based on the new findings, experts claim trees may not have a direct effect on symptoms but could provide clues to environmental conditions that improve respiratory health such as better air quality in areas served by the 'green lung' of trees and parks, or in providing outdoor spaces which encourage children to play outdoors.

Dr Gina Lovasi, health and society scholar at Columbia University said: 'Street trees may explain geographic variation in the prevalence of asthma within urban environments….Trees may help prevent asthma, either by encouraging outdoor play or through an effect on local air quality.'

Some scientists suggest exposure to pollen, dust and germs in a youngster's early years trains the immune system to be less sensitive to allergens.
Source: Based on a story by Jenny Hope in The Daily Mail, London, May 1, 2008
Date: May 5 2008