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Asthma Undiagnosed in One in Five Urban Adolescents

Odds of being undiagnosed higher for girls, Asian-Americans versus white non-Hispanics

THURSDAY, Jan. 17, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The prevalence of undiagnosed asthma is 20.2 percent among urban adolescents, according to a study published online Jan. 15 in the Journal of Urban Health.

Jean-Marie Bruzzese, Ph.D., from the Columbia University School of Nursing in New York City, and colleagues examined the correlations between undiagnosed asthma and individual-level demographic and neighborhood-level factors in a cohort of 10,295 New York City adolescents. Addresses were provided for a subset of 6,220 adolescents who could be geocoded into U.S. Census tracts.

The researchers found that the prevalence of undiagnosed asthma was 20.2 percent. The odds of being undiagnosed were higher for girls (adjusted odds ratio, 1.25). Asian-Americans had a higher risk for being undiagnosed compared with white, non-Hispanic adolescents (adjusted odds ratio, 1.41), while Latinos and African-Americans/Blacks had a lower risk for being undiagnosed (adjusted odds ratios, 0.67 and 0.66, respectively). There was no significant difference in risk for Latinos and African-Americans/Blacks. The risk of being undiagnosed was reduced for those living in a neighborhood with a lower concentration of Latinos relative to white non-Latinos (adjusted odds ratio, 0.66). The risk of being undiagnosed was lower for those living in a neighborhood with health care provider shortages (adjusted odds ratio, 0.80).

“Greater effort to identify those with asthma symptoms but no diagnosis may be needed to ensure those at highest risk for being undiagnosed obtain diagnosis and treatment, as needed,” the authors write.

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