Racial and Ethnic Differences in the Management of Childhood Asthma in the United States

Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population, Urban Institute , Washington, DC , USA.
Journal of Asthma (Impact Factor: 1.8). 07/2012; 49(8):785-91. DOI: 10.3109/02770903.2012.702840
Source: PubMed


We examined racial and ethnic differences in the management of childhood asthma in the United States and the extent that care conformed to clinical best practices.

Two years of pooled data from the National Health Interview Survey were analyzed using logistic regression. The sample included all children between ages 2 and 17 years who had asthma currently and had been diagnosed with asthma by a doctor or health professional (n = 1757; 465 African-American, 212 Mexican-American, 190 Puerto Rican and other Hispanic, 806 white, non-Hispanic, and 84 children of other and multiple races and ethnicities).

African-American children with asthma were significantly less likely than white, non-Hispanic children to have taken preventive asthma medication, but more likely to have had an asthma management plan. Mexican-American and Puerto Rican and other Hispanic children did not differ significantly from white, non-Hispanic children in either receiving preventive asthma medication or having an asthma management plan. Caregivers of African-American and Puerto Rican and other Hispanic children were more likely to report that they or their child had taken a course or class on how to manage their child's asthma. We did not find racial or ethnic differences in the extent children used quick-relief asthma medication or received advice about reducing asthma triggers in their home, school, or work environments.

This work highlights a need for more research on racial and ethnic differences in asthma management. Implications for public health responses and racial and ethnic disparities in asthma morbidity are discussed.

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