Centre for International Health
PhD Candidates

Ingrid Nordeide Kuiper: Air Pollution – a Major Public Health Threat

PhD Candidate Ingrid Nordeide Kuiper examines the lung health effects of air pollution and greenness - over time and across generations.

Ingrid Nordeide Kuiper
Ingrid Nordeide Kuiper

Most studies investigating the effects of air pollution on lung health and function focus mainly on acute, short-term effects. Kuiper has chosen to use long-term, cross-generational data from the multi-country RHINESSA project to consider the long-term effects of low levels of air pollution vs greenness on respiratory health.

To generate a more homogeneous study group, Kuiper used a Northern European sub-set of the RHINESSA study. It included around 6000 parents and 8000 grown offspring. Collaborating with colleagues in Munich, Germany, Kuiper used accumulated satellite data to assign air pollution and greenness values to participant address geocodes to assess exposures over time. (“Greenness” is measured using the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI))

Her first paper focuses on testing the reliability of cross-generational questionnaires – whether parents provide accurate information when they report on their children’s historical health, and vice-versa. Since this method is commonly used in epidemiology, her results are important for many types of studies, as this can be a useful tool for generating data in the absence of direct measures. She found that for her study, asthma reports across generation showed moderate to good agreement, thus documenting that this tool can be used.

Kuiper has undertaken several exchange studies to build up her research expertise, including course work at the University of Newcastle, a summer course in Florence, Italy, a research stay in Munich, Germany and another research stay in Verona, Italy.  During this last research stay, it was decided to change the study design for her second paper addressing long-term lung health.

Her third and final paper will consider the lung health of the offspring, with respect to their parents’ exposure to air pollution and greenness.