Does low birth weight help to explain the increased prevalence of asthma among African-Americans?

Christine L.M. Joseph, Dennis R. Ownby, Edward L. Peterson, Christine C. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background: Racial disparities in asthma prevalence are not fully explained. Previous studies have reported an association between low birth weight (LBW) and asthma. African-Americans are at a heightened risk for both conditions. Objective: The objective of this analysis was to study a sample of suburban schoolchildren to determine if increased asthma prevalence in African-Americans could be explained by report of LBW. Methods: Logistic regression was used to analyze telephone survey and clinical data for a sample of 126 children, aged 6 to 8 years. Results: African-Americans reported asthma (12.5% vs 5.3%) and LBW (16.6% vs 3.9%) more frequently than non-African-Americans. After adjusting for LBW, the odds ratio for the association of African-American race to asthma was reduced from 2.6 to 1.8, whereas LBW remained independently associated with asthma, adjusted odds ratio = 5.1(95% CI:1.4 to 18.9). The adjusted population risk for asthma due to LBW was 0.31. Conclusions: High rates of LBW for African-Americans may contribute to racial disparities in asthma prevalence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-512
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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