Lee, HY; Wu, YH; Asri, AK; Chen, TH; Pan, WC; Yu, CP; Su, HJ; Wu, CD (2020). Linkage between residential green spaces and allergic rhinitis among Asian children (case study: Taiwan). LANDSCAPE AND URBAN PLANNING, 202, 103868.

Background: The prevalence of allergic rhinitis (AR) continues to increase, and the greatest increases were observed mostly in non-Western regions, particularly Asian and Pacific regions; however, only a few studies have been conducted in Asia. Objectives: Using Taiwan as an example of a typical Asian country, this study aimed to evaluate the association between green areas and the frequency of clinical visits for AR among children in Asia. Methods: We used the Longitudinal Health Insurance Database to identify subjects diagnosed with AR at four years old in 2003, who were then followed up with until 2011. Greenness exposure was assessed using the MODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). The Generalized Additive Mixed Model (GAMM) was applied to examine the association between green areas and the rate of AR after controlling for confounders. Results: The major results indicate a positive correlation, as green areas significantly increased the risk of AR by up to 8.4%. Further, sensitivity test analyses confirmed the robustness of the model estimates, even after adjusting for confounders. Stratified analysis results also display areas with high humidity and low temperatures increasing the risk of AR by up to 14% and 27%, respectively. In contrast, areas with low humidity and high temperatures decreased the risk of AR by up to 4% and 22%, respectively. Moreover, the positive relationship between greenness and AR among children was consistent across different sub-populations. Conclusions: Greenness exposure contributes to an increased risk of allergic rhinitis (AR). This finding could serve as a reference for designing green landscapes, especially in residential areas.