PURPOSE: There is evidence that asthma hospitalization and death rates are disproportionately high in poor urban areas. However, the exact prevalence of asthma in low socioeconomic class areas in Athens, Greece has yet to be established. As part of a study on inner-city school children, we conducted a survey to estimate asthma prevalence.
METHODS: Caretakers of kindergartners, aged 5-11 years old, at 8 inner-city primary schools (within low socioeconomic class areas) were given questionnaires to complete on site.
RESULTS: Adequate information was obtained for 288 children (147 boys and 141 girls). 20% of the children were reported to have wheezing at some time in the past; 10.8% had wheezing in the past year; and 8% had a physician diagnosed asthma. Prevalence rates were higher for boys vs girls for ever having wheezing (23.4% vs 13.3%, p=0.0007), and physician diagnosed asthma (10.8% vs 6 %, p=0.02). These results compare unfavorably with reported asthma prevalence from national survey data: ever having wheezing 20% vs 4.8% and physician diagnosed asthma 8 vs 1.5%.
CONCLUSION: These results support existing evidence that the prevalence of asthma in schoolchildren in poor urban areas is significantly higher than the reported aggregate national prevalence.Moreover, asthma prevalence was found to be significantly higher in boys vs girls.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: It is important to direct future studies in order to identify the factors that account for these differences.
DISCLOSURE: George Tatsis, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information