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Mexican American children born in the United States have an increased risk of asthma compared to children born in Mexico, according to a study featured in the July 2005 Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology (JACI). The JACI is the peer-reviewed, scientific journal of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).
Kamal Eldeirawi, RN, MS, and colleagues from the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Southern California analyzed data on 4,121 Mexican American children who were participants in the third National Health & Nutrition Examination Survey.
The researchers compared the prevalence of asthma and wheezing in the past year among children born in the United States to those born in Mexico. They sought to identify risk factors in the environment that may change with migration to the United States and could influence the risk of asthma and wheezing.
Results of the Asthma Study
• Children born
in the United States were significantly more likely to report
asthma diagnosis and wheezing than those
born in Mexico.
Differences In Environment Affect Asthma
Also, children born in the United States may be more likely to have a regular place for healthcare, and therefore more likely to be diagnosed with asthma. However, the study found that the increased asthma risk in U.S. born children continued to persist even after taking this into account.
Researchers believe another reason may be due to social and cultural factors. Mexican immigrants may be hesitant to report illness or personal information because of certain cultural beliefs. Their views on health care and illness may be different from people born in the United States and therefore are more accustomed to U.S. culture.
This study was the first in the United States to document the
differences in the prevalence of asthma and respiratory symptoms
among Mexican American children. Researchers believe further
research is needed to identify factors behind the differences,
which could lead to a better understanding of asthma and its
epidemiology and prevention.
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