Background: Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that often develops from controllable environmental factors, such as poor air quality. Our study examined the relationship between mold in the home, which compromises indoor air quality, and asthma prevalence in Athens-Clarke County (ACC), Georgia.

Methods: Data from the Athens Wellbeing Project’s 2016 survey of 1,354 households in ACC was employed to examine indoor air quality and asthma prevalence in ACC. We provided descriptive statistics to examine asthma prevalence and asthma predictors, including the proportion of respondents reporting mold and pest problems, smoking prevalence, and the proportion of households reporting clinical obesity. We also examined demographic characteristics including race and ethnicity, educational attainment, home ownership status, and the percent of households in poverty at the 185% federal poverty line. We then employed a logistic regression analysis to assess the relationship between asthma and housing quality.

Results: The descriptive statistics showed that seven percent of the ACC population, 17% of households, reported there was at least one individual in the home diagnosed with asthma and nine percent of the county population experienced mold problems in the home. Logistic regression analysis showed households that reported mold problems were 11% more likely to report at least one person in the household had been diagnosed with asthma. Educational attainment and obesity were also significantly associated with asthma, though not as predictive of asthma as mold.

Conclusions: Strong statistical associations were found between indoor air quality and asthma prevalence in ACC. Improving housing quality by intervening on mold has the potential to reduce asthma rates, thereby increasing individual and community wellbeing. Our results have implications for the state of Georgia and the United States, as asthma prevalence is comparable throughout. This research adds to the body of literature focusing on the link between indoor air quality and asthma.

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