America's Worst Asthma Cities

Knoxville, Tenn., tops the list of the 100 most challenging U.S. cities for people living with asthma.

Memphis, Tenn., and Louisville, Ky., took the second and third spots in the second annual ranking of U.S. asthma cities. Washington, D.C. jumped from number 50 last year to number five in this year's list.

Researchers say more than half of the 20 million Americans with asthma suffer from the allergic form of the disease, which is aggravated by exposure to allergens like pollen, dust mites, and mold.

In compiling the 2005 U.S. asthma cities list, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranked the top 100 metropolitan areas in the country based on 12 asthma risk, medical, and prevalence factors, such as:

  • Estimated and reported prevalence of asthma
  • Asthma-related deaths
  • Annual pollen level
  • Annual air quality
  • Public smoking laws
  • Number of asthma specialists
  • School asthma-inhaler access laws
  • Uninsured rate
  • Poverty rate

    Based on those factors, the following cities were ranked number four through 10 behind Knoxville, Memphis and Louisville: Toledo, Ohio, Washington, D.C., St. Louis, Mo., Allentown, Pa., Springfield, Mass., Grand Rapids, Mich. and Scranton, Pa.

    Cites considered best for asthma sufferers based on the survey: San Francisco, Miami, Daytona Beach, Fla., Denver, Seattle, West Palm Beach, Fla., Dallas-Ft. Worth, Fort Meyers, Fla., Colorado Springs, Colo., Melbourne, Fla.

    SOURCES: The U.S. Asthma Capitals, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. News release, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

    By Jennifer Warner, WebMD Medical News
    Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD
    © 2005, WebMD Inc. All rights reserved