Comparison of asthma prevalence among African American teenage youth attending public high schools in rural Georgia and urban Detroit

Dennis R. Ownby, Martha S. Tingen, Suzanne Havstad, Jennifer L. Waller, Christine C. Johnson, Christine L.M. Joseph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background The high prevalence of asthma among urban African American (AA) populations has attracted research attention, whereas the prevalence among rural AA populations is poorly documented. Objective We sought to compare the prevalence of asthma among AA youth in rural Georgia and urban Detroit, Michigan. Methods The prevalence of asthma was compared in population-based samples of 7297 youth attending Detroit public high schools and in 2523 youth attending public high schools in rural Georgia. Current asthma was defined as a physician diagnosis and symptoms in the previous 12 months. Undiagnosed asthma was defined as multiple respiratory symptoms in the previous 12 months without a physician diagnosis. Results In Detroit, 6994 (95.8%) youth were AA compared with 1514 (60.0%) in Georgia. Average population density in high school postal codes was 5628 people/mile2 in Detroit and 45.1 people/mile2 in Georgia. The percentages of poverty and of students qualifying for free or reduced lunches were similar in both areas. The prevalence of current diagnosed asthma among AA youth in Detroit and Georgia was similar: 15.0% (95% CI, 14.1-15.8) and 13.7% (95% CI, 12.0-17.1) (P =.22), respectively. The prevalence of undiagnosed asthma in AA youth was 8.0% in Detroit and 7.5% in Georgia (P =.56). Asthma symptoms were reported more frequently among those with diagnosed asthma in Detroit, whereas those with undiagnosed asthma in Georgia reported more symptoms. Conclusions Among AA youth living in similar socioeconomic circumstances, asthma prevalence is as high in rural Georgia as it is in urban Detroit, suggesting that urban residence is not an asthma risk factor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)595-600.e3
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Volume136
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

Keywords

  • African American
  • Urban
  • asthma
  • high school students
  • inner-city
  • prevalence
  • rural
  • youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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