Race, socioeconomic factors, and area of residence are associated with asthma prevalence

Pediatr Pulmonol. 1999 Dec;28(6):394-401. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1099-0496(199912)28:6<394::aid-ppul2>3.0.co;2-6.

Abstract

Asthma prevalence in the United States has been reported to be higher in minority groups such as Blacks and Hispanics. Because a disproportionate number of individuals from such minority groups are of low socioeconomic status (SES), it is unclear how much of the racial/ethnic differences in asthma prevalence is related to low SES. We investigated the effect of SES on the relationship between race/ethnicity and asthma prevalence in a cohort of families with a history of asthma or allergies from the Boston, Massachusetts area. From 499 families, a cohort of 998 parents and 307 children was identified. We used total yearly family income (<$50,000 vs. > or = $50, 000), highest level of education (< or = high school vs. > or = college), and residence in high-poverty areas vs. low-poverty areas as measures of SES. Yearly family income <$50,000, < or = high school education, and residence in high poverty areas were all associated with increased risks for asthma in both cohorts. In the parental cohort, Blacks and Hispanics (OR = 2.1, 95% CI = 1.5, 2.8; and OR = 2.2, 95% CI = 1.5, 3.2, respectively) were at greater risk for asthma than Whites. In the cohort of children, Black and Hispanic children (OR = 2.9, 95% CI = 1.0, 8.0; and OR = 5.3, 95% CI = 1.6, 17.5, respectively) were also at increased risk for asthma. When the three measures of SES were included in the multivariable models, the risks associated with Blacks and Hispanics decreased in both cohorts: OR = 1.4, 95% CI = 0.9, 2.0; and OR = 1.6, 95% CI = 1.0, 2. 6, respectively, for the parents; and OR = 0.8, 95% CI = 0.2, 3.0; and 2.5, 95% CI = 0.5, 11.7, respectively, for the children. We conclude that a large proportion of the racial/ethnic differences in asthma prevalence in our study is explained by factors related to income, area of residence, and level of education.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans
  • African Continental Ancestry Group*
  • Age Distribution
  • Asian Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group*
  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Asthma / ethnology*
  • Boston / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • European Continental Ancestry Group* / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Hispanic Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Urban Population