Study: High Crime Area May Worsen Asthma

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, May 5 (UPI) — A U.S. researcher says living in a high-crime neighborhood may worsen children’s asthma.

Dr. Ruchi S. Gupta of Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago suggests healthcare professionals should consider a child’s social environment when treating asthma.

Gupta and colleagues found children to be nearly twice as likely to have moderate to severe asthma if their caregivers reported high levels of stress or if the incidence of violent crime was high in their neighborhood. After adjusting for caregiver stress, a high incidence of violent crime still was associated with more severe asthma in children.

“To our knowledge, this study is the first to evaluate the impact of both perceived and actual violence on childhood asthma,” Gupta said in a statement. “Based on our findings, it seems that the risk of severe asthma is better predicted by the actual incidence of violent crime in a community rather than violence perceived by the caregiver.”

Gupta and colleagues looked at 561 children in Chicago, ages 8-14, who had been diagnosed with asthma by a physician.

The study findings were presented in Vancouver at the annual meeting of Pediatric Academic Societies.

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