Twice each year, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) uses a standard set of criteria to evaluate the relative safety of living in different major U.S. cities if you have asthma. The spring 2009 list has recently been released and there are some changes since the last release.
The Asthma Capitals project is actually a research project, designed to publicize the seriousness of today's asthma epidemic and to call for changes in each city to improve the quality of life for people with asthma. It's important to note that experts today no longer recommend you move to escape asthma risk. It's a sad fact that most every city in the U.S. has a variety of asthma risk factors. Sure, some are worse than others, but none of them are great.
So, it's better to focus on managing your asthma for greater control. Work with your doctor to develop an Asthma Action Plan that makes sense for you. Still, it's good to know what you're dealing with, which is why I thought I'd cover the latest updates to the Asthma Capitals report.
AAFA uses a set of 12 factors in these 3 categories to rate the various U.S. cities:
- Prevalence Factors - morbidity and mortality statistics
- Risk Factors - air quality, pollen, "100% smoke-free" laws, poverty and more
- Medical Factors - medication usage and access to specialists
They also look at how these factors have changed over time, which is part of the reason why St. Louis rose to the "top" this time. from their 2008 rank of #9. (Being #1 is NOT a great achievement.) St. Louis was ranked number 1 because they have a higher than average pollen score, continued poor air quality, a lack of "100% smoke-free" laws and other reasons.
Here are the top 10 cities:
- St. Louis, MO
- Milwaukee, WI
- Birmingham, AL
- Chattanooga, TN
- Charlotte, NC
- Memphis, TN
- Knoxville, TN
- McAllen, TX
- Atlanta, GA
- Little Rock, AR
Interesting that so many of the cities are located in the southern part of the U.S. Makes me glad I live in the mountain west!
If you'd like to peruse the whole report to learn more about the individual ranking factors and to see where you nearest city ranks in the list of 100, you can download the report from the AAFA website:
Published On: April 02, 2009