Date of Award

Summer 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Health Services Research

Committee Director

Anna Jeng

Committee Member

Holly Gaff

Committee Member

Daniel Russell


Air pollution is associated with poor cardiovascular and/or respiratory health outcomes. The poor air quality in certain communities due to the emission of toxic air pollutants from industries and major roadways has been a growing concern. The main objective of this study was to examine whether residential proximity to environmental air pollution sources, individual-level risk factors (age, gender, and body mass index (BMI)) and number of years at same residence are associated with observed poor cardiovascular and/or respiratory health outcomes in the residents of Southeast community in Newport News, Virginia. Logistic regression was conducted to assess this association using the self-reported demographic and health outcomes data from the surveys completed by the residents of the community. Exposure to air pollution was calculated as distance in miles between each geocoded residential address and source of air pollution using geographic information system (GIS) tools and then Lakes Environmental Screen ViewTM, which as a user-friendly interface for US EPA SCREEN3 was used to model ground level concentration of pollutants released from Toxic Release Inventory (TRI ) reporting industries present in the community at each residential address. A significant negative correlation was observed between the predicted concentration of pollutants from industries and distance of residence from the industries. Of 224 residents, 39.7% reported the presence of cardiovascular and/or respiratory health outcomes and 51.8% had BMI in the overweight or obese category. Results of the logistic regression model reported no significant association with residential proximity to environmental pollution sources. Some of the study limitations such as the size of the study community as well as the absence of real-time air monitoring stations could be contributing factors for the observing this lack of association. For individual-level factor, significant positive association was observed between obesity (OR = 3.03; 95% CI = (1.37 – 6.71); p = 0.01) and poor cardiovascular and/or respiratory health outcomes. And although not statistically significant, higher prevalence rates of poor cardiovascular and/or respiratory health outcomes were observed in residents living at the same residence of ≥ 15 years compared to those living of < 15 years at same location.