How Poverty Affects Asthma
Asthma, one of the most prevalent childhood chronic diseases in the United States, also is closely linked to poverty in children. Several studies have identified that children in poverty are more likely to have asthma. According to one study of children in the United States, nine percent of kids from families receiving supplemental food assistance (aka food stamps) were reported to have asthma, compared to five percent of children from families not receiving food stamps. Another study of children in New York City found that childhood asthma is twice as prevalent in low-income areas as high-income areas.
Why It Matters
Childhood asthma can result in school absences and lower academic performance, particularly if children have to be hospitalized. Poverty also can discourage children from getting routine medical care, potentially leading to more hospitalizations for children who suffer from chronic conditions like asthma.
How Children Are Faring
Asthma Hospitalizations for Children Ages 0-4 (Rate Per 10,000), 2008
Region Result California 22 Southern California Average 20.9 Southern California Range 10.4 (Santa Barbara) – 38.2 (Imperial)
Asthma Diagnoses for Children Ages 1-17, 2009
Region Result California 14.2% Southern California Average 13.1% Southern California Range 7.8% (Orange) - 17.8% (Imperial)
Note: California figures and Southern California ranges are presented as reported in the original data source. Southern California averages, however, have been calculated. Specifically, population estimates for children within the same age range as the original indicator within each county, and Southern California as a whole, were used to create the weighted averages presented. See slideshow for more details about the data source.
What First 5s Are Doing
Orange funds the Breathmobile van operated by the Children's Hospital of Orange County. The Breathmobile has dramatically reduced the number of pediatric emergency room visits, hospitalizations and missed school days due to asthma by providing screening, preventive care, treatment and wellness services to young children in predominantly medically underserved areas.
Imperial's Asthma Project provides home visitations and extensive case management for children. Community health workers teach parents to recognize and limit exposure to asthma triggers.
San Bernardino Parent and Provider Asthma Education Project also provides home visitation and case management for children with persistent asthma, recent emergency room visits and hospitalizations due to asthma. The Breathmobile Van travels visits families across the county.
San Bernardino also provides the Physician Asthma Care Education (PACE) training to local physicians.
Santa Barbara supports asthma screenings for children served in all funded programs.
Riverside recently released an RFP to facilitate effective management of Asthma and asthma conditions among children ages 0-5 years. The program emphasizes the use of best practices and strategies outlined by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute and other leading health agencies. The program will be implemented in Child Care, Home, Community and Health Care settings.