The Geographic Variability of Childhood Asthma Prevalence in Chicago

 
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Childhood asthma prevalence has been shown to be higher in urban communities overall without an understanding of differences by neighborhood.  To characterize the geographic variability of childhood asthma prevalence by neighborhood in Chicago, asthma screening was conducted among children attending 105 Chicago schools as part of the Chicago Initiative to Raise Asthma Health Equity. Additional child information included age, sex, race/ethnicity, and household members with asthma. Surveys were geocoded and linked with neighborhoods. We found asthma prevalence among all children to be 12.9% and that asthma rates varied among neighborhoods from 0% to 44%. READ MORE...

The Protective Effect of Community Factors on Childhood Asthma

 

Although my 2008 study found that asthma prevalence varies widely across urban neighborhoods, little attention had been paid to the community as a key contributor. In order to determine the effect of positive socioenvironmental community factors on childhood asthma prevalence in Chicago we administered a survey to children attending Chicago Public/Catholic schools from kindergarten through eighth grade. One hundred five schools participated, yielding a stratified representation of 4 race-income groups. Positive community factors, such as social capital, economic potential, and community amenities, were assessed by using the Metro Chicago Information Center’s Community Vitality Index. Of the surveys returned, 45,177 (92%) were geocoded into 287 neighborhoods. Neighborhoods were divided into quartile groups by asthma prevalence (mean, 8%, 12%, 17%, 25%). Community vitality (54% vs 44%; P < .0001) and economic potential (64% vs 38%; P < .0001) were significantly higher in neighborhoods with low asthma prevalence.  Neighborhood interaction (36% vs 73%; P < .0001) and stability (40% vs 53%; P < .0001) were significantly higher in neighborhoods with high asthma prevalence. READ MORE...

The Association between Community Crime and Childhood Asthma Prevalence in Chicago

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Prior to this study little attention had been paid to exposure to crime as a possible socioenvironmental contributor to variability in urban childhood asthma prevalence. To determine the association of violent crime, property crime, and drug abuse violations with childhood asthma prevalence in Chicago we conducted an asthma screening survey of children in grades K to 8 attending Chicago public and Catholic schools. Police-reported criminal activity was significantly higher in neighborhoods with a high asthma prevalence, especially drug abuse violations, which increased more than 6-fold (461 vs 2,921), and violent crimes, which increased more than 3-fold (448 vs 1,566). After adjusting for community race/ethnicity, only violent crime continued to be significantly associated with the neighborhood asthma prevalence. When considered alongside sociodemographic and individual characteristics, violence continued to contribute significantly (P<.05), explaining 15% of neighborhood variation in childhood asthma. Evidence suggests an association between violent crime and childhood asthma prevalence in Chicago. A deeper understanding of the mechanisms that underlie this association may lend insight into potential interventions to address urban asthma. READ MORE...