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Air Quality Awareness and Behaviors of U.S. Adolescents With and Without Asthma

  • Katie M. Lynch
    Affiliations
    Asthma and Community Health Branch, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia

    Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
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  • Maria C. Mirabelli
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to: Maria C. Mirabelli, PhD, MPH, Asthma and Community Health Branch, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway NE, Mailstop S106-6, Atlanta GA 30341.
    Affiliations
    Asthma and Community Health Branch, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia
    Search for articles by this author

      Introduction

      Among U.S. adolescents, the knowledge that air pollution can impact health is relatively high and varies by the demographics of the respondents and the places they live, but the influence of asthma status is unknown. This study assesses the role of asthma in U.S. adolescents’ awareness, perceptions, and behaviors related to air pollution.

      Methods

      In 2020, data were analyzed from 817 adolescents aged 12–17 years who responded to the 2020 Porter Novelli Public Services YouthStyles survey, a nationally representative survey of U.S. adolescents. Respondents self-reported having or having had asthma in the past year and their awareness, perceptions, and behaviors related to air pollution. For each aspect of air quality awareness, perception, and behavior, weighted percentages of responses were calculated by asthma status.

      Results

      Overall, an estimated 11.5% of U.S. adolescents self-reported asthma. Awareness that air pollution can impact health, awareness that respondents can limit their air pollution exposure, and having heard or read about air quality alerts were similar among adolescents with and without asthma, with some differences reported in where they heard or read about air quality alerts. Those with asthma reported discussing with a health professional about ways to limit exposure more frequently than those without asthma.

      Conclusions

      Despite the well-known risk of asthma exacerbations from air pollution exposure, air quality awareness was similar among adolescents with and without asthma. These findings reveal the areas in which air quality awareness and behaviors to reduce exposure can be improved among adolescents with and without asthma.
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