Place of Birth Contributes to Asthma

Photo: Black girl

Many black children in Boston suffer
from asthma; © SXC

"Within Asian and Hispanic populations, there is research that indicates that asthma varies between those who are born in the U.S. and those who are foreign-born. There is currently no research that we found that describes asthma prevalence among black/African-American subpopulations in the U.S.," says first author Doug Brugge, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Public Health and Family Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.

In partnership with Tufts University School of Medicine, the Boston Urban Asthma Coalition (BUAC) implemented the project in Dorchester in response to parents who wanted to determine how asthma affects their community. Adults 18 years and older were recruited from various locations in Dorchester to participate in the oral survey. If the recruited adults had children, they answered asthma-related questions about their children.

Of the 479 surveys conducted, Brugge analyzed 290 adult and 157 child responses from individuals who self-identified as black/African-American. 30 percent of the adults in the study born in the U.S. were diagnosed with asthma while only 11 percent of adults in the study born outside of the U.S reported asthma. 23 percent of children in the study born in the U.S. had been diagnosed as having asthma. None of the children born outside of the U.S. had been diagnosed as having asthma.

"Asthma is a community issue for Boston. Many parents are concerned because knowing that their children suffer from asthma is stressful, especially if they feel they don't have the information needed to help their children effectively," says Neal-Dra Osgood, co-author of the study. "This study helps us understand which population is hit the hardest by this chronic disorder and helps direct our community efforts."; Source: Tufts University, Health Sciences