Childrens Report Card

Sacramento County Childrens Coalition

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Air Quality and Asthma

Air quality and asthma continue to be major health challenges for children growing up in Sacramento County. A positive note is that both the number of Spare the Air Days and the proportion of children diagnosed with Asthma have decreased over the past several years. It is hoped that these figures are indicative of a positive change in overall air quality. However, additional time and study is needed before definitive statements can be made as to whether this decrease is due to positive systemic change or simply favorable environmental conditions.

Air Pollution

health 8a
health 8b

Why is this important?

  • Poor air quality aggravates respiratory conditions, causes damage to the lungs, and can lead to chronic health problems.
  • Children are more vulnerable to poor air quality because their lungs are still developing and they take in proportionally more air than adults.
  • A Spare the Air day is a day forecast to have ozone levels high enough to exceed federal health-based standards. Residents are asked to modify their behavior to help minimize pollution, and people who are sensitive to unhealthy air are advised to limit their time outdoors.
  • A variety of factors play into air quality, including natural conditions (such as temperatures, fires, and wind direction) and human contributions (such as pollution).

How are we doing?

  • Last year Sacramento County had six Spare the Air days.
  • Sacramento County has experienced relatively fewer spar the air days over the past six years.
  • The improvement should be viewed with caution, however, as a sudden change in the natural environment (such as a nearby fire or prolonged heat wave could affect the trend).


health 8c
health 8d

Why is this important?

  • Asthma is a leading chronic illness among children, and one of the major contributors to school absenteeism. Asthma can result in life threatening health crisis and when it is not well controlled, asthma often requires emergency medical attention (nationwide, asthma accounts for 1 in 6 pediatric emergency visits).

How are we doing?

  • The percentage of all children from 0-17 diagnosed with asthma decreased¬†in Sacramento County but increased in California overall between 2009 and 2011.
  • In Sacramento County more than 10% of children under 18 have been diagnosed with Asthma.

Data Source: Spare the Air

Data Source: Children Diagnosed with Asthma from the California Health Interview Survey

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 October 2013 14:40