Asthma Prevalence in an Inner-city Head Start Sample: Links with Family Income, Education and Race/Ethnicity

Ozlem Bekar, Ellen Halpern, Faith Lamb-Parker, Howard Steele, Miriam Steele, Rebecca Shahmoon-Shanok


The Head Start Bureau has described asthma as a “growing problem” and “top chronic disease among Head Start children” (Rehnquist, 2002). This study examined the racial/ethnic and SES-based contributors to asthma prevalence among children attending three Head Start centers in a multi-ethnic, densely populated city in the U.S. Sample consisted of 1312 families. Findings indicated that poverty -over and above the effects of race/ethnicity- was a primary risk factor for asthma in this population: every thousand dollars increase in yearly income decreased the odds of asthma by 4%. In addition, Hispanic/Latino ethnicity and Asian race were predictive of very high and very low rates of asthma, respectively. There was a positive relationship between asthma status and caregivers' education level, which may play a role in reporting of asthma cases. These findings are of significant value to inform formulation of effective intervention programs at Head Start centers.




asthma-innercity; childhood; poverty; race/ethnicity; Head Start

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