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Disparities in health care utilization among Latino children suffering from asthma in California

Authors Chang J, Patel I, Liu S, Ortega A, Srivastava J, Park Y, Kirk S, Balkrishnan R

Published 11 January 2011 Volume 2011:2 Pages 1—8


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Jongwha Chang1*, Isha Patel1*, Sherry T Liu2, Alexander N Ortega3, Jatin Srivastava4, Yoon Shin Park5, Sarah Kirk6, Rajesh Balkrishnan1,7,8
1Department of Social and Administrative Science, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI; 2College of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH; 3School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, CA; 4EW Scripps School of Journalism, Ohio University, Athens, OH; 5Department of Pharmaceutical Science, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI; 6Texas Asthma Control Program, Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, TX; 7Center for Medication Use, Policy and Economics, 8Department of Health Management and Policy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
*Both authors contributed equally to this project.

Objectives: To examine any racial and ethnic differences in health care utilization among children with asthma by application of the Aday and Anderson’s behavioral model of health care utilization.
Methods: The California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) is a noninstitutionalized household survey of California residents conducted biannually since 2001. Cross-sectional survey data were analyzed to identify differences by race and ethnicity among children with asthma. After adjusting for sample weights and design effects, children with asthma comprised a sample size of 400,000 in the 2007 CHIS database. Disparities in health care utilization across all racial and ethnic categories were analyzed using multivariate logistic regression analysis.
Results: Latino children with asthma were 49% more likely to have visited an emergency department in the previous year (P < 0.05) and 57% less likely to have visited a doctor (P < 0.05) compared with non-Latino children with asthma, after controlling for confounding variables. Furthermore, Puerto Rican children were 72% more likely to have visited an emergency department (P < 0.05) in the previous year and 38% less likely to have visited a doctor (P < 0.07) compared with non-Puerto Rican children.
Conclusion: This study provides evidence of disparities in health care utilization among Latino children overall as well as in Latino children belonging to different subgroups suffering from asthma. Examining factors leading to differences within the Latino subgroups could help to guide the tailoring of interventions and health care programs for children with asthma, thereby improving access to health care services for this underrepresented minority.
Keywords: racial disparities, Latino children, Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans, CHIS, Mexican Americans, asthma

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