Prevalence and correlates of asthma in the Puerto Rican population: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2000

J Asthma. 2003;40(5):465-74. doi: 10.1081/jas-120018713.


The 2000 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) showed that Puerto Rico had the highest self-reported prevalence of asthma. Our objective was to estimate the self-reported prevalence of asthma among different population subgroups and determine its correlates in Puerto Rican adults as reported by the BRFSS. The BRFSS data gathered during 2000 were analyzed. To determine factors associated with self-reported prevalence of asthma, a simple unconditional logistic regression model was employed; then, to estimate adjusted weighted prevalence odds ratios, a multiple unconditional logistic regression model was used. The self-reported weighted prevalence of ever having asthma among Puerto Rican adults was 15.9% (14.8%-16.9%). Asthma prevalence was significantly higher in the following population subgroups: females (18.8%), educational attainment > 12 years (18.4%), having health coverage (16.3%), and obesity (21.0%). Asthma prevalence did not differ among age groups, region of residence, annual income, smoking at least 100 cigarettes in entire life, and physical activity. Almost half (45.6%) of asthmatics reported having children affected with the condition. The prevalence of asthma in any children of the interviewed was 33.2%, 51.3% were receiving treatment, and 30.6% and 24.3% reported having one to three visits to emergency departments and hospital admissions, respectively, resulting from asthma last year. Based on the logistic regression model, the following factors were significantly associated with asthma: sex, high educational attainment, health coverage and obesity. Consistent with previous studies in Puerto Ricans living in the mainland, a higher than expected prevalence of asthma was observed. The possibility of a genetic-environment interaction deserves further investigation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Puerto Rico / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Self-Assessment