Effect of Indoor Air Pollution on Acute Respiratory Infection among Children in India
Indoor Air Pollution (IAP) has become a major concern in India in recent years because women and young children are highly exposed to smoke of various types of unclean fuels used for cooking and heating in the household result into risk of respiratory disorders among them. The paper aims to seek association between prevalence of acute respiratory infection (ARI) among children less than five years of age and use of cooking fuels in households of India. The analysis is based on 52,868 Children less than five years of age included in India's third National Family Health Survey conducted in 2005-2006. Effects of exposure to cooking smoke, determined by the type of fuel used for cooking such as biomass and solid fuels versus cleaner fuels, on the reported prevalence of ARI were estimated using multivariate logistic regression. Since the effects of cooking smoke are likely to be confounded with effects of tobacco smoking, age, and other such factors, the analysis was carried out after statistically controlling for such factors. The results indicate that Children under five years of age living in households using biomass and solid fuels have a significantly higher risk of ARI than those living in households using cleaner fuels (OR: 1.54; 95%CI: 1.38-1.72; p = .010). The findings have important program and policy implications for countries such as India, where large proportions of the population still rely on polluting biomass fuels for cooking and heating. Decreasing household biomass and solid fuel use and increasing use of improved stove technology may decrease the health effects of indoor air pollution. More epidemiological research with better measures of smoke exposure and clinical measures of ARI is needed to validate the findings.
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