Study: Childhood asthma in Central Harlem, NY

Nicholas SW, Jean-Louis B, Ortiz B, Northridge M, Shoemaker K, Vaughan R, Rome M, Canada G, Hutchinson V for the Harlem Children’s Zone Asthma Initiative. 2005. Addressing the Childhood Asthma Crisis in Harlem: The Harlem Children’s Zone Asthma Initiative. American Journal of Public Health, 95 (2): 245-249. This paper summarizes the structure and details of the two assessment stages (initial screenings, interviews and follow-up activites with enrolled asthmatic children) of the Harlem Children’s Zone Asthma Initiative. This is a longitudinal, community-based, multi-faceted intervention for children ages 0-12 in Central Harlem, New York City. Between 2001-03, 1982 children were reported to have been screened, and as of the end of 2003, 229 diagnosed asthmatic children were reported to have been enrolled for the intervention / interview protocol. Of the children initially screened, about 3 in 10 were reported to have doctor or nurse-diagnosed asthma and/or asthma-like symptoms. Overall, relatively speaking, the prevalence of asthma increased by age group and among males, and was higher among Latinos. Reported data also suggested many of these children were exposed to tobacco smoke at home. Of the enrolled asthmatic children, about 1 in 3 reported missing school in the last 14 days, and about 3 of every 4 of these reported absences were due to asthma complications. In other words, overall, about 1 in 4 enrolled asthmatic children reported missing school in the last 14 days due to asthma. Also, for the enrolled asthmatic children at baseline, reported initial interview data suggested poor asthma management over the preceeding three months among a number of these children, including incorrect and inconsistent (not daily) use of prescribed medications and the lack of written asthma action plans (only about 1 in 5 had one). To read the study abstract and obtain a reprint, please go to: //www.ajph.org/cgi/content/abstract/95/2/245

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