IJERPH, Vol. 19, Pages 1287: Effects of Urban Landscape and Sociodemographic Characteristics on Heat-Related Health Using Emergency Medical Service Incidents (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
It is well known that extremely hot weather causes heat-related health issues. Health problems, especially in urban areas, are becoming increasingly important due to urban heat island effect. Understanding the impact of neighborhood characteristics is important for research into the relationship between thermal environment and human health. The objectives of this study were to explore the urban landscape and sociodemographic characteristics affecting heat-related health and identify spatial inequalities for vulnerable groups. A total of 27,807 heat-related EMS incidents were used at the census block group level (N = 285). We used land cover database and Landsat satellite images for urban landscape variables and used 2019 U.S. Census data for sociodemographic variables. Negative binomial regression was used to identify the neighborhood variables associated with the heat-related EMS incidents in each block group. Heat-related health has been alleviated in block groups with high green areas. However, the negative effects of thermal environments on human health were higher in areas with a high percentage of impervious surface, over 65 years, non-white people, no high school diploma, or unemployment. The results indicate that heat-related health problems can be addressed through prevention strategies for block group variables. Local intervention efforts to solve health issues should be targeted at more vulnerable areas and groups.