Ethnic Disparities in Asthma

If a health condition, like asthma, occurs more often in one group of people compared to another, it is a health disparity.1

AAFA and the National Pharmaceutical Council created the report, Ethnic Disparities in the Burden and Treatment of Asthma Download PDF. This report talks about the health disparities found between Hispanic, African American and white populations. This report looks at the genetic, environmental and behavorial causes of asthma. This report also looks at ways the causes of asthma can be reduced.

The report has three chapters.

What Is the Burden of Asthma on Minorities?

African Americans and Hispanics are the largest minority groups in the United States. These groups have the highest rate of asthma. Minorities have the highest asthma death rate. They also have the highest number of emergency room visits and hospital stays due to asthma.

African Americans and Puerto Ricans are three times more likely to die from asthma than whites.

What Are Some of the Differences Minorities Face When It Comes to Asthma?

Genetics and the environment increase asthma risk. If you have a family history of asthma, you have an increased risk of developing asthma. Also, allergens in the air can trigger asthma attacks and can lead to chronic asthma. Childhood asthma is often connected to home allergens. These include dust mites, pets, tobacco smoke, cockroaches and mold.

This report shows that African Americans and Hispanics are more likely to go to the emergency room for asthma rather than receive regular care. Minority children with asthma often don’t use long-term asthma control medicines enough. This may explain the high number of emergency room visits.

How Can We Reduce Asthma Differences?

There are many programs and chances to help reduce health differences in minorities with asthma. Some of these are:

  • Asthma education and management programs just for minorities
  • School-based asthma management programs
  • Programs to reduce exposure to allergens (such as cockroaches in inner city homes)
  • Community programs created to improve access to quality care
  • City, state and federal programs

Read the full report.  Download PDF


[1] Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Disparities.