Knowledge, attitudes and practices about air pollution and its health effects in 6th to 11th-grade students in Colombia: a cross-sectional study

Diana Marín, Nicolás Calle (Autor estudiante de pregrado), Valentina Arango (Autor estudiante de pregrado), Paulina Betancur (Autor estudiante de pregrado), Manuela Pérez (Autor estudiante de pregrado), Luz Yaneth Orozco, Beatriz Marín-Ochoa, Juan Carlos Ceballos, Lucelly López, Zulma Vanessa Rueda

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Resumen

Globally, air pollution is the leading environmental cause of disease and premature death. Raising awareness through environmental education and adequate communication on air quality could reduce the adverse effects. We aimed to assess the knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) regarding air pollution and health and determine the factors associated with these KAP in children and adolescents.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Methods</jats:title><jats:p>In 2019–2020, a cross-sectional study was conducted on 6th–11th grade high school students in five municipalities in Colombia. Variables collected included: age, sex, private or public school, any medical history, emergency room visits due to respiratory symptoms in the last year, and whether students played sports. The main exposure was the School Environmental Project. The outcomes were the KAP scale [0% (the lowest score) to 100% (the highest score)]. The factors associated with KAP levels were evaluated with independent mixed regressions due to the multilevel structure of the study (level 1: student; level 2: school), and the exponential coefficients (95% confidence interval-CI) were reported.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Results</jats:title><jats:p>Among 1,676 students included, 53.8% were females. The median knowledge score about air pollution and its health effects was 33.8% (IQR: 24.0–44.9), 38.6% knew the air quality index, 30.9% knew the air quality alerts that occurred twice a year in these municipalities and 5.3% had high self-perceived knowledge. Positive attitudes, pro-environmental practices, being female, grade level, attending a private school, having respiratory diseases, and the school environmental project importance were associated with higher knowledge scores. The median attitudes score was 78.6% (IQR: 71.4–92.9). Pro-environmental attitudes were associated with knowledge-increasing, being female, attending a private school, and the school environmental project. The median pro-environmental practices score was 28.6% (IQR: 28.6–42.9). During air quality alerts, 11.6% had worn masks, 19% had reduced the opening time of windows and 15.9% avoided leaving home. Pro-environmental practices were associated with knowledge-increasing and attitudes-increasing, and lower practices with higher grade levels, visiting a doctor in the last year, and practicing sports.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Discussion</jats:title><jats:p>Children and adolescents have low knowledge scores and inadequate pro-environmental practices scores regarding air pollution. However, they demonstrate positive attitudes towards alternative solutions and express important concerns about the planet’s future.
Idioma originalInglés
PublicaciónFrontiers in Public Health
Volumen12
DOI
EstadoPublicada - 19 jun. 2024

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