• Presentation

Dissemination of Health Risk Information Through the Asthma Capitals Rankings


Perritt, R. L. (2005, December). Dissemination of Health Risk Information Through the Asthma Capitals Rankings. Presented at American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA.


Although asthma is a chronic disease affecting more than 20 million Americans, and the most common chronic disease among children, many people are unaware of its prevalence, causes, triggers and impact on the lives of the affected individuals and their families. To address the issue of informing the public about the causes of asthma as well as its risk factors, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has developed an annual U.S. Asthma CapitalsTM Research and Rankings as part of its public awareness campaign about asthma. In a collaborative effort between AAFA and RTI International, three sets of factors (risk factors, medical factors, prevalence factors) were identified, assigned weights, and entered into a computational algorithm to determine the rankings for the top 100 metropolitan areas in the U.S. A wide range of information from more than a dozen sources of state and municipal data was examined, including pollen levels, smoking laws, air quality, number of asthma medication prescriptions per capita, and morbidity and mortality statistics. This presentation will provide the rationale and methodology for the rankings. We will also discuss the implications of the rankings from the public's access and use of these data, especially as they relate to health risk communication and public health policy.