Results of a new study by Johns Hopkins researchers using national data add to evidence that living in inner cities can worsen asthma in poor children. They also document persistent racial/ethnic disparities in asthma.
A report of the study’s findings, published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology on March 8, shows that urban living and black race are strong independent risk factors for increased asthma morbidity — defined as higher rates of asthma-related emergency room visits and hospitalizations — but urban living does not increase the risk for having asthma.
“Our findings serve as evidence that there are differences between risk factors linked to developing asthma and those linked to making asthma worse if you already have it,” says Corinne Keet, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the paper’s lead author.
To the researchers’ knowledge, few previous studies have been conducted on a national level to determine the effects of inner-city living on both asthma prevalence and severity. While Keet’s previous work published in 2015 using a national survey showed that living in an urban area was not a risk factor for having asthma, that study didn’t allow for analysis of asthma morbidity.