Study: Black children in Houston at higher risk for asthma

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Black children are more than twice as likely to have asthma as white children, according to a study conducted by sociologists at Rice University.

The study's findings suggest that neighborhood environmental features -- such as poverty status -- contribute to the high risks. The findings are part of the "Health & Place" journal published this month.

"The differences in childhood asthma rates in Houston are rooted in social, economic and racial inequalities that affect children, their families and even the neighborhoods in which they live," lead author Mackenzie Brewer said.

According to the study, black children between the ages of 2 and 12 were more than twice as likely to suffer from asthma compared with white children of the same age. Hispanic children had 22 percent higher odds than white children, and Asian children had an 18 percent higher odds.

Researchers said the findings suggest there may be more factors other than neighborhood poverty and air pollution affecting rates.

In a release from Rice University, Brewer suggested that the "various inequalities that kids experience, including racial discrimination or individual family income, which previous research has shown influences health outcomes, may be to blame."

Researchers used medical records of 142,407 pediatric patients aged 2-12 in the Houston-area for the study.

Rice says 50 percent of the children were white, 16 percent were black, 28 percent were Hispanic and 6 percent were Asian.

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