Los Angeles is the worst of the nation's "hot spots" for asthma sufferers, a survey has concluded.
Asthmatics went to the emergency room more often here and lost more school and work time from attacks than in 13 other regions, including Phoenix, Chicago, Miami and the state of Texas, the American Lung Assn. said in releasing the study last week.
Southern California has the nation's dirtiest air, but experts said that alone doesn't account for the results.
Children also are too sedentary, said Miami-based allergist Dr. Miguel Lanz, who analyzed the study.
"Kids aren't going outdoors to play, they're playing Nintendo," he said. "With windows rolled up, we're constantly being bombarded by allergens and particles in our homes that can make us sick."
About 500,000 of the 15 million asthma sufferers in the United States live in the Los Angeles area.
The study, conducted over the summer for the Washington-based group Asthma in America, found that 46% of the asthmatic children surveyed in Los Angeles went to emergency rooms in the past year, compared with a national average of 32%.
Forty-four percent of those surveyed here said asthma attacks forced them to miss school or work, compared with the national average of 25%.