Demographic factors, not location, explain the higher prevalence of pediatric asthma among children in the inner-city, results of a study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology indicate.
“Although it is thought that inner-city areas have a high burden of asthma, the prevalence of asthma in inner cities across the United States is not known,” noted Corinne A. Keet, MD, PHD, of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and colleagues.
To determine the prevalence of current asthma in United States pediatric patients living in inner-city and non-inner city areas, and to examine whether urban residence, poverty, race/ethnicity, are the main drivers of asthma disparities, the investigators culled data from the National Health Interview Survey (2009 to 2011).
Multivariate logistic regression models adjusted for factors such as gender, race/ethnicity, residence in an urban, suburban, medium metro, or small metro/rural area, poverty, and birth outside the United States with current asthma and asthma morbidity as outcome variables. Inner-city areas were defined as urban areas with 20% or more of households at below the poverty line.
Among the 23,065 patients included in the study, the prevalence of asthma was 12.9% in inner-city and 10.6% in non-inner city areas, but this difference was not significant after adjusting for race/ethnicity, region, age, and sex. Associations with asthma morbidity were very similar to those with prevalent asthma.
“Although the prevalence of asthma is high in some inner-city areas, this is largely explained by demographic factors and not by living in an urban neighborhood,” concluded the scientists.