Exploring factors associated with health disparities in asthma and poorly controlled asthma among school-aged children in the U.S.

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Objective: Certain populations suffer disproportionately from asthma and asthma morbidity. The objective was to provide a national descriptive profile of asthma control and treatment patterns among school-aged children (SAC: aged 6–17) in the U.S. Methods: This was a cross-sectional analysis using the nationally representative 2007–2014 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Among SAC with asthma, indicators of poor control included: exacerbation/asthma attack; >3 canisters short-acting beta agonist (SABA)/3 months; and asthma-specific Emergency Department or inpatient visits (ED/IP). Results: Non-Hispanic black, non-Hispanic multiple races, Puerto Rican, obese, Medicaid, poor, ≥2 non-asthma chronic comorbidities (CC), and family average CC ≥ 2 were associated with higher odds of having asthma. The following had significantly higher odds ratios (OR) of excessive SABA use compared to non-Hispanic whites [OR; CI; p < 0.05]: Puerto Rican (3.8; 2.1–6.9), Mexican (3.6; 2.0–6.4), Central/South American (3.0; 1.2–7.7), Hispanic-other (3.1; 1.1–9.0), non-Hispanic black (2.5; 1.6–3.9), and non-Hispanic Asian (4.0; 1.7–9.2). SABA OR were also significant for Spanish spoken at home (2.5; 1.6–3.8), obese (2.1; 1.3–3.3), Medicaid (2.9; 2.0–4.1), no medical insurance (2.1; 1.1–4.1), no prescription insurance (2.5; 1.8–3.5), poor (2.8; 1.7–4.7), CC ≥ 2 (2.1; 1.6–2.8), parent-without high-school degree (2.5; 1.8–3.6), parent-SF-12 Physical Component Scale <50 (1.6; 1.2–2.1) and Mental Component Scale <50 (1.5; 1.1–2.0). Significant differences also existed across subgroups for ED/IP visits. Conclusions: There are disparities in asthma control and prevalence among certain populations in the U.S. These results provide national data on disparities in several indicators of poor asthma control beyond the standard race/ethnicity groupings.

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