Low Birth Weight and Asthma Among Young Urban Children

Publication Year
2006

Type

Journal Article
Abstract

Objectives
We assessed whether the association between low birthweight and early childhood asthma can be explained by an extensive set of individual- and neighborhood-level measures.

Methods
A population-based sample of children born in large US cities during 1998–2000 was followed from birth to age 3 years (N=1803). Associations between low birthweight and asthma diagnosis at age 3 years were estimated using multilevel models. Prenatal medical risk factors and behaviors, demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, and neighborhood characteristics were controlled.

Results
Low-birthweight children were twice as likely as normal birthweight children to have an asthma diagnosis (34% vs 18%). The fully adjusted association (OR= 2.36; P<.001) was very similar to the unadjusted association (OR= 2.48; P<.001). Rates of renter-occupied housing and vacancies at the census tract–level were strong independent predictors of childhood asthma.

Conclusions
Very little of the association between low birthweight and asthma at age 3 can be explained by an extensive set of demographic, socioeconomic, medical, behavioral, and neighborhood characteristics. Associations between neighborhood housing characteristics and asthma diagnosis in early childhood need to be further explored.

Journal
American Journal of Public Health
Volume
96
Issue
9
Pages
1604-1610
Call Number
2006-03-FF