Examining Racial and Ethnic Disparities and Predictors of Medication Use Among California’s African-American, Latino, and White Children with Asthma

The purpose of this study was to determine the factors that are associated with the use of prescription medication to control asthma in California's African-American, Latino, and White children from 1 to 11 years of age. This was a secondary analysis of parental reports of the use of prescription medication by children with current asthma symptoms (defined as MD diagnosis of asthma). These children were identified from a cross-sectional survey called the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), 2001. An overall sample of 1,313 children with current asthma was used in the study. It was found that African-American children were 1.85 times (95% CI: 1.82, 1.88) more likely than White children were and 1.87 times (95% CI: 1.86, 1.90) more likely than Latino children to use prescription medication to control their asthma. Multivariate analysis showed an association with severity (mild, moderate, and severe symptoms), two childhood disability factors, and medication use. Asthma severity and disability (defined as affects to social role function) predicts the use of medications for African-American, Latino, and White children with asthma in California.