Cohort study of respiratory hospital admissions, air quality and sociodemographic factors in preterm infants born in California

Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2020 Mar;34(2):130-138. doi: 10.1111/ppe.12652. Epub 2020 Feb 6.


Background: Preterm infants suffer from respiratory morbidity especially during the first year of life.

Objective: To investigate the association of air quality and sociodemographic indicators on hospital admission rates for respiratory causes.

Methods: This is a retrospective cohort study. We identified all live-born preterm infants in California from 2007 to 2012 in a population-based administrative data set and linked them to a data set measuring several air quality and sociodemographic indicators at the census tract level. All sociodemographic and air quality predictors were divided into quartiles (first quartile most favourable to the fourth quartile least favourable). Mixed effect logistic models to account for clustering at the census tract level were used to investigate associations between chronic air quality and sociodemographic indicators respiratory hospital admission during the first year of life.

Results: Of 205 178 preterm infants, 5.9% (n = 12 033) were admitted to the hospital for respiratory causes during the first year. In the univariate analysis, comparing the first to the fourth quartile of chronic ozone (risk ratio [RR] 1.29, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.21, 1.37), diesel (RR 1.10, 95% CI 1.02, 1.17) and particulate matter 2.5 (RR 1.07, 95% CI 1.01, 1.14) exposure were associated with hospital admission during the first year. Following adjustment for confounders, the risk ratios for hospital admission during the first year were 1.53 (95% CI 1.37, 1.72) in relation to educational attainment (per cent of the population over age 25 with less than a high school education) and 1.23 (95% CI 1.09, 1.38) for poverty (per cent of the population living below two times the federal poverty level).

Conclusions: Among preterm infants, respiratory hospital admissions in the first year in California are associated with socioeconomic characteristics of the neighbourhood an individual is living in.

Keywords: air quality; hospital admission; preterm birth; sociodemographic factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Air Pollution* / analysis
  • Air Pollution* / statistics & numerical data
  • California / epidemiology
  • Educational Status*
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Male
  • Poverty*
  • Residence Characteristics / classification
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases* / therapy
  • Risk Assessment / methods


  • Air Pollutants