Is There a Link Between Violent Crime and Asthma Morbidity in Kids?

A new study found that decreased educational attainment and augmented rates of violent crime are associated with increased census-tract rates of pediatric asthma morbidity. The results were published in Pediatrics. 

In this study, researchers assessed 15,492 children with asthma between the ages of 2-17, living in Washington, D.C., from January 2018 to December 2019. The investigators found that children living in areas with higher crime and less educational achievement for more likely to be hospitalized for asthma

“Knowing these adverse measures of social determinants are associated with increased asthma-related emergency department and hospitalization at-risk rates, may be an opportunity to inform community-based interventions to reduce pediatric asthma morbidity,” says Jordan Tyris, a hospitalist and lead author of the study via a press release.

The study authors suggest that there may be complex reasons behind this data, noting that violent crime can reflect toxic stress, less education can be associated with less knowledge about health and medicine and that children in these communities may be less likely to have primary care doctors. Researchers believe these findings can help develop localized interventions that can improve pediatric asthma in affected communities and that more research is needed on the drivers of asthma related sickness, including toxic stress, structural racism and access to medical care.