Environmental risk factors associated with respiratory diseases in children with socioeconomic disadvantage
journal contributionposted on 2021-01-01, 00:00 authored by J Cortes-Ramirez, J D Wilches-Vega, O M Paris-Pineda, J E Rod, L Ayurzana, Peter SlyPeter Sly
Children are more vulnerable to environmental exposures determinant of respiratory diseases due to their dynamic developmental physiology. Whereas social determinants of health are also associated with a higher risk of these diseases in children exposed to environmental risk factors, most studies incorporate them as covariates in the statistical analysis rather than focusing on specific vulnerable populations. In this study a systematic review searched and selected studies of respiratory diseases in children with socioeconomic disadvantage to identify the environmental risk factors associated with these diseases. The review followed the PRISMA protocol to identify eleven eligible studies of children with socioeconomic conditions that included low income and low socioeconomic status, overcrowding, adults with low education level and Indigenous status. Infectious respiratory diseases, asthma, rhinitis and mortality due to respiratory diseases were associated with risk factors such as biomass fuel use, tobacco smoking, particulate matter, coal dust and other pollutants including ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide. The most common associations were between respiratory infections and household air pollution and asthma with indoor and outdoor air pollution. The findings support previous reports on these associations and suggest that specific vulnerabilities such as indigenous children and living with adults with low socioeconomic status and education level increase the risk of respiratory diseases. These populations can be given special attention to prioritize public health interventions to lower the burden of disease of respiratory diseases in children.