Sunday July 21, 2019

Car Pollution: The Cause of Asthma Among Over 350,000 Children in India

South Korea (31 per cent) had the highest proportion of traffic pollution-attributable childhood asthma incidence. The UK ranked 24th of the 194 countries, the US 25th, China 19th, and India 58th

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Traffic pollution caused asthma among 350,000 children in India, the second largest after China, in 2015, finds a Lancet study that analysed 194 countries.

The study, published in the Lancet Planetary Health, found that the largest number of cases (760,000) of traffic pollution-related asthma were in China.

It could be because China has the second largest population of children and the third highest concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is an indicator of traffic pollution.

India had the next largest number of cases (350,000) due to its large population of children, said researchers from the George Washington University in the US. The US (240,000), Indonesia (160,000) and Brazil (140,000) had the next largest burdens.

“Our findings suggest millions of new cases of paediatric asthma could be prevented in cities around the world by reducing air pollution,” said Susan C. Anenberg, Associate Professor at the George Washington University in the US.

Car emissions contribute to global climate change. Pixabay

Globally, the study suggests there are 170 new cases of traffic pollution-related asthma per 100,000 children every year, and 13 per cent of childhood asthma cases diagnosed each year are linked to traffic pollution.

South Korea (31 per cent) had the highest proportion of traffic pollution-attributable childhood asthma incidence. The UK ranked 24th of the 194 countries, the US 25th, China 19th, and India 58th.

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India ranks below other countries for this metric because although levels of other pollutants (particularly PM2.5) in the country are among the highest in the world, NO2 levels (between 2010 and 2012) in Indian cities appear to be lower than or comparable with European and US cities, the researchers said.

“Improving access to cleaner forms of transportation, like electric public transport and active commuting by cycling and walking, would not only lower NO2 levels but would also reduce asthma, enhance physical fitness and cut greenhouse gas emissions,” Anenberg said. (IANS)

Next Story

Children in UP Schools to Get Sun Exposure for Vitamin D

This disease can have severe growth outcome for children and lead to lifelong deformities and disabilities

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role of Vitamin D in recovery from burn injuries
Vitamin D capsules. Pixabay

The morning assembly sessions and extra-curricular activities at all government schools in Uttar Pradesh will henceforth be held in the open instead of inside classrooms and auditoriums. The idea behind this is to boost calcium and Vitamin D in students.

The decision has been taken following a recent directive from the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to all states and Union Territories, calling for more physical activities under the sun to tackle diseases, like rickets (soft bones and skeletal deformities), caused by Vitamin D deficiency.

According to state Additional Director (basic education) Lalita Pradeep: “Schools will now have to conduct morning prayers and other activities under the open sky. Most village schools already hold sessions outdoors, but those in urban and semi-urban areas will now have to follow suit. The focus will also be on organizing games outdoors.”

She said that the MHRD has asked all the 29 states and seven Union Territories to “promote sun exposure programmes” in their respective schools.

Vitamin D plays an important role in preventing TB.
Vitamin D is best known for its effects on bone health. Pixabay

This underscores the need to eradicate diseases caused by lack of Vitamin D.

As a part of the programme, awareness lectures will also be held at government schools in the state in addition to outdoor activities during free periods.

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During the growing-up phase, school children remain highly susceptible to bone deforming effects of calcium and Vitamin D deficiency, primarily manifesting as rickets.

This disease can have severe growth outcome for children and lead to lifelong deformities and disabilities. (IANS)