Asthma and Latino cultures: different prevalence reported among groups sharing the same environment

Am J Public Health. 2000 Jun;90(6):929-35. doi: 10.2105/ajph.90.6.929.


Objectives: This 1999 study measured asthma prevalence among Latinos of different cultural traditions who live on the same streets and in the same buildings.

Methods: Health promoters from El Puente in North Brooklyn, New York City, surveyed 3015 people in 946 households, asking standard asthma prevalence questions.

Results: Some 46% of households identified themselves as Dominican, 42% as Puerto Rican, 6% as other Latino, and 6% as other. Reported asthma period prevalence was 5.3% (93 of 1749) among Dominicans and other Latinos, compared with 13.2% (147 of 1115) among Puerto Ricans (odds ratio = 0.37; 95% confidence interval = 0.28, 0.49), a difference not explained by location (cluster or building), household size, use of home remedies, educational attainment, or country where education was completed. Differences were least detectable among 13- to 24-year-olds of both sexes and sharpest among women aged 45 years and older and girls from birth to 12 years.

Conclusions: Further research on gene-environment interactions is needed among Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, but asthma's associations with low income and unhealthy environment, which more recent immigrants seem better able to withstand, should not be overlooked.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Asthma / ethnology*
  • Asthma / genetics
  • Asthma / therapy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Culture
  • Dominican Republic / ethnology
  • Environment
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Hispanic or Latino*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Insurance, Health
  • Male
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Puerto Rico / ethnology
  • Sex Distribution
  • Surveys and Questionnaires