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The Pediatric Forum
July 2002

Limitations in Measuring Asthma Disparities

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2002;156(7):729-730. doi:

Rodriguez et al1 presented a well-executed analysis of the complicated Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) data on childhood asthma in the March 2002 issue of the ARCHIVES. I would like to call attention, however, to a research finding in the authors' data that largely manages to escape discussion in their article. The finding is that, although African American children younger than 10 years are more likely than white or Mexican American children to have a reported current asthma diagnosis (15.6% vs 8.3%), the prevalence of wheezing is statistically identical in all 3 racial/ethnic groups. Does this finding not deserve consideration? If African American children are more likely to have asthma, should they not wheeze more? Or if they wheeze just as much as white and Mexican American children, should they not be diagnosed with asthma just as often?

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