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Member Research and Reports

Kentucky: Housing Influences Respiratory Health Outcomes

A new publication by investigators at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health highlights the importance of different types of housing in respiratory health outcomes. The paper is now available online in advance of publication in Preventive Medicine Reports.

[Photo left to right: Dr. Steven Browning and Dr. Wenqi Gan]

Evidence has shown that housing conditions may substantially influence the health of residents. Different types of housing have different structures and construction materials, which may affect indoor environment and housing conditions. This study aimed to investigate whether people living in different types of housing have different respiratory health outcomes.

[Photo left to right: Dr. David Mannino and Dr. Wayne T. Sanderson]

The data from the 1999-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were used for the analyses. The types of housing included houses, townhouses, apartments, and mobile homes. Respiratory symptoms included wheezing, coughing, sputum, and dyspnea; respiratory diseases included asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Multiple logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratio (OR) and 95 percent confidence interval (CI) after adjustment for potential confounding factors.

A total of 11, 785 participants aged 40 years and older were included in the analyses. Compared with those living in single family houses, participants living in mobile homes were more likely to have respiratory conditions, the OR (95 percent CI) was 1.38 (1.13-1.69) for wheezing, and 1.49 (1.25-1.78) for dyspnea; whereas participants living in apartments were less likely to have respiratory conditions, the OR (95 percent CI) was 0.58 (0.36-0.91) for chronic bronchitis, and 0.69 (0.49-0.97) for COPD.

Compared with living in single family houses, living in mobile home was associated with worse, whereas living in apartments was associated with better, respiratory health outcomes. Further research is needed to better understand the underlying mechanisms and prevent adverse respiratory effects associated with living in mobile homes.

Paper authors are: Dr. Wenqi Gan and Dr. David Mannino, Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health, and Dr. Wayne T. Sanderson and Dr. Steven Browning, Department of Epidemiology.

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