Objectives This study's objective is to determine if there is an association between rates of violence and rates of childhood asthma in Los Angeles County communities.
Methods Rates of hospitalization for assault and for asthma were calculated for each zip code and city in Los Angeles County. Linear regression was used to determine the effect of assault rates on asthma rates while controlling for potential confounders such as poverty and racial/ethnic distribution. At the city level, crime rates were included in the model as additional measures of community violence.
Results Hospitalization rates for childhood asthma and assaults were significantly correlated at both the city (r = .80) and the zip code (r = .54) levels. The association remained significant when controlling for poverty and racial/ethnic distribution with linear regression (p < .0001). At the city level, the variables measuring crime rate were not signficant predictors of asthma hospitalizations.
Conclusions Community violence as measured by the rate of assault hospitalizations is associated with childhood asthma in Los Angeles County. Health care providers should consider their asthmatic patients' social environments when devising treatment plans.
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