Date of Award

7-20-2009

Degree Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Ike Okosun - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Rodney Lyn

Abstract

CONTEXT: Although a large body of epidemiologic evidence suggests that socioeconomic status (SES) is one of the associated risk factors for poor health outcome, its impact on the prevalence of asthma in minority populations is not well understood. AIM: The purpose of this study is to examine the association of SES with asthma in American minority children. Specifically, this study is designed to determine the role of poverty status, insurance coverage, parental education, living conditions, and employment on the risks of asthma in non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic Americans. METHOD: The data (n=77,601) used in this study were retrieved from the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) and the National Center for Health Statistics of 2003. Data on children aged 3-17 years were included in the analysis. Odds ratio from the multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to determine the association between SES variables and the risk of asthma. RESULTS: Non-Hispanic black children were 4 times more likely to develop asthma if their parents had a less than college education, 18 times more likely to develop asthma if they lived in a poverty-stricken environment, 11 times more likely to develop asthma if someone in the household smoked, and 25 times more likely to develop asthma if they were uninsured. Hispanic children are 35 times more likely to develop asthma if someone within the home smoked, and 145 times more likely to develop asthma if they were uninsured. Both African American and Hispanic children were over two times more likely to be hospitalized because of asthma than their non-Hispanic white counterparts. After adjusting for SES, there were no statistically significant differences in odds of asthma in non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic American children. CONCLUSION: Racial/ethnic differences in asthma are not fully explained by their differences in SES. Thus, a reduction and elimination of asthma among minority and Caucasian children requires a comprehensive understanding of the role of other factors. More research is needed to examine genetic and other social and environmental contributors to racial/ethnic differences in asthma.

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