Richmond is Top U.S. “Asthma Capital”

Richmond is Top U.S. “Asthma Capital” Again says Annual Report Names the 100 Most Challenging Places to Live with Asthma

For the second year in a row, Richmond, VA, has been ranked as the No.1 Asthma Capital – the most challenging place to live with asthma in the U.S. – according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), which conducted the study. The ranking was determined based on an analysis and scoring of a variety of factors in the 100 largest U.S. metro areas.

For eight years, AAFA has scientifically researched and evaluated conditions in metropolitan areas in America and ranked them based on quality of life for people with asthma. The Foundation reviews 12 factors including: crude death rate for asthma; estimated prevalence of adult and pediatric asthma; risk factors, such as air pollution, pollen counts and public smoking bans; and medical factors, such as the number of asthma medications used per patient and the number of asthma specialists in the area. The full report showing all 100 metro areas is available for free at

Going South

Up from number fourteen in 2009, to number 1 in 2010, Richmond is again ranked as the top Asthma Capital in the 2011 report. The dubious honor for Richmond is due to a number of factors including a higher than average pollen score, continued poor air quality, a lack of public smoking bans, high poverty and uninsured rates, and other factors.

In fact, 14 cities in the top 25 of this year’s rankings are located in the south. The poor ranking of southern cities this year may be due in part to the slow adoption of “100% smoke-free” laws in southern tobacco-producing states and cities, as well as continued high levels of air pollution and ozone days, all considered major risk factors for people with asthma.

Don’t Move – Improve

More than 20 million children and adults live with asthma all over the U.S., making it one of the most common and costly diseases. Experts agree that people can’t move away from their asthma since every city in America has a variety of risk factors. Instead, people should work with an asthma specialist to improve their overall asthma management plan no matter where they live.

“Although Richmond is a particularly difficult place for people with asthma to live, asthma triggers are present in every American city,” says Mike Tringale, AAFA’s Vice President of External Affairs. “There is no way for asthma patients to escape their disease, but no matter where they live, patients can work with their physicians to find ways to control their symptoms better.”

This Year’s Top 10

The top 10 Asthma Capitals for 2011 are:

1. Richmond, VA
2. Knoxville, TN
3. Memphis, TN
4. Chattanooga, TN
5. Tulsa, OK
6. St. Louis, MO
7. Augusta, GA
8. Virginia Beach, VA
9. Philadelphia, PA
10. Nashville, TN

Find the full rankings and complete data for all 100 cities at

About Asthma

Asthma is a condition characterized by inflammation of airways in the lungs resulting in chronic wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathin

• More than 4,000 deaths annually

• More than 500,000 hospitalizations annually
• Over 12 million missed days of school for children each year
• Over 10 million missed days of work for adults each year
• 1.8 million emergency room visits each year
• $18 billion in medical expenses and indirect costs each year

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