Background: Acculturation is an important predictor of asthma in Latino youth, specifically Mexican Americans. Less is known about acculturation and pulmonary function measures.
Objective: We sought to estimate the association of acculturation measures with asthma and pulmonary function in Latino youth and determine whether this association varies across Latino subgroups.
Methods: We included 1849 Latinos (302 Caribbean Spanish, 193 Central or South Americans, 1136 Mexican Americans, and 218 other Latino children) aged 8 to 21 years from 4 urban regions in the United States. Acculturation measures include nativity status, age of immigration, language of preference, and generation in the United States. We used multivariable logistic and linear regression models to quantify the association of acculturation factors with the presence of asthma (case-control study) and pulmonary function (case-only study), adjusting for demographic, socioenvironmental, and clinical variables.
Results: For all acculturation measures (nativity status, age of immigration, language of preference, and generation in the United States), greater levels of acculturation were associated with greater odds of asthma. Among cases, high (English preference) and medium (equal preference for Spanish and English) levels of language acculturation were associated with decreased bronchodilator response compared with low (Spanish preference) levels (P = .009 and .02, respectively). Similarly, high language acculturation was associated with increased FEV1 compared with low language acculturation (P = .02). There was insufficient evidence of heterogeneity for associations across Latino subgroups.
Conclusions: Acculturation was associated with diagnosed asthma and pulmonary function in Latino children and is an important factor to consider in the management of Latino youth with asthma.
Keywords: Latino; acculturation; asthma; health disparities; pediatric; social determinants of health.
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