/ Modified apr 21, 2014 4:11 p.m.

Tucson Ranks 4th Best in US for People with Asthma

The dry heat of Southern Arizona has long drawn people with respiratory problems; new study says city's air quality ideal.

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The dry heat of Southern Arizona has long drawn people with respiratory problems, and a new study ranks Tucson the fourth best city in the country for asthma sufferers.

The consumer advocacy group, NerdWallet, ranked the 50 most populous cities in the U.S. based on prevalence, the number of physicians and specialists, air quality and the cost of asthma care.

Fisayo Ositelu, the head of consumer insights at NerdWallet, said “Tucson performed particularly well for its air quality and cost of treating asthma. The average costs of the most common asthma medications were lower in Tucson.”

Ositelu said the city also performed well in the area of air quality.

However, he pointed out that the city could move up in the rankings.

“Compared to the other top cities, the number of primary care physicians and specialists were lower," he said. "So Tucson can actually improve in that area.”

Only Omaha, Neb., Nashville, Tenn., and Arlington, TX outperformed Tucson. Ositelu stressed that smaller cities tended to rank higher in the study because they have fewer cars and less air pollution.

Phoenix ranked the eighth worst city in the study.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, asthma affects about one in 12 adults and nearly one in 10 children nationwide.

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