Springfield committee wants more data after foundation ranks city 'most challenging place to liv

Read the original MassLive story by Peter Goonan here.

SPRINGFIELD -- A City Council committee is meeting Thursday to discuss Springfield's asthma rates after the city was ranked by a nonprofit foundation as the most challenging place in the nation to live with asthma.

Councilor Jesse Lederman, chairman of the council's Health and Human Services Committee, has scheduled the meeting at 5:30 p.m., at City Hall, to get more information on adult and pediatric asthma rates in Springfield.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, which lists itself as a leading patient advocacy organization, recently released its 2018 Asthma Capitals report that identifies the 100 most challenging places to live with asthma. Springfield was No. 1 on the list followed in order by: Richmond, Virginia; Dayton, Ohio; Philadelphia; and Louisville.

Boston and Worcester were ranked 11th and 12th, respectively.

According to the foundation, cities are ranked based on asthma-related health outcomes: prevalence, emergency room visits and mortality. The report also looks at "risk factors that contribute to the outcomes including poverty, air quality, access to specialists, pollen counts, medicine use, tobacco policies and the rate of uninsured residents," the foundation said.

Lederman said the ranking is the result of the city's high asthma rate and numbers of emergency room visits for asthma attacks.

According to the Pioneer Valley Asthma Coalition, 19 percent of Springfield youth and 18 percent of Springfield's adults suffer from asthma, Lederman said.

"We've made great progress in Springfield in the last decade working to improve air quality and make our community healthier, but more must be done," Lederman said. "This is an issue that impacts many families in our community."

The meeting will include presentations by the Pioneer Valley Asthma Coalition and the Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts, Lederman said.

The foundation report can be found here.

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