Trees Reduce Childhood Asthma Risk

Armen Hareyan's picture

Children living in tree-lined streets have lower risk for developing asthma and its symptoms.

Researchers from Columbia University examined the data of children living in New York City. Statistics showed that some extra 343 trees per square kilometer cut asthma risk by 25% occurring in children aged from 4 to 5. City streets have an average of 613 trees per square kilometer and 9% of children suffer from asthma.

Overall rates of childhood asthma and allergies are rising. The rates rose by 50% between 1980 and 200. In New York City most childhood hospitalization cases are because of asthma mainly occurring among children below 15.


The research didn't go deep into the mechanism of how trees affect asthma rates, but there is a hypothesis, which still needs to be proved. Scientists think that allergies and asthma mainly occur because children are being exposed to too few microbes early in life and the immune system weakens. Later in life immune system is unable to fight infection causes numerous diseases, including allergies and asthma.

Children living in places with trees are being exposed to pollen early in life and they are getting used to these natural foreign particles. This is why they suffer less from asthma than children living in tree-free places.

Another hypothesis is that trees create a healthy environment and encourage kids to play outdoors. This is another probable reason of why children living in tree-lined streets suffer from asthma less.

However, there are some types of trees with extremely allergic and asthmatic pollen. Children with vulnerability to specific types of trees must be very careful.

The research did not consider other factors affecting asthma rates, such as pollution, population density and social status. However, it is clear that trees create healthy environment, and children can greatly benefit from it.


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