Racial and ethnic disparities in diagnosed and possible undiagnosed asthma among public-school children in Chicago

Kelly Quinn, Madeleine U. Shalowitz, Carolyn A. Berry, Tod Mijanovich, Raoul L. Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives. We examined racial and ethnic disparities in the total potential burden of asthma in low-income, racially/ethnically heterogeneous Chicago schools. Methods. We used the Brief Pediatric Asthma Screen Plus (BPAS+) and the Spanish BPAS+, validated, caregiver-completed respiratory questionnaires, to identify asthma and possible asthma among students in 14 racially/ethnically diverse public elementary schools. Results. Among 11490 children, we demonstrated a high lifetime prevalence (12.2%) as well as racial and ethnic disparities in diagnosed asthma, but no disparities in prevalences of possible undiagnosed asthma. Possible asthma cases boost the total potential burden of asthma to more than 1 in 3 non-Hispanic Black and Puerto Rican children. Conclusions. There are significant racial and ethnic disparities in diagnosed asthma among inner-city schoolchildren in Chicago. However, possible undiagnosed asthma appears to have similar prevalences across racial/ethnic groups and contributes to a high total potential asthma burden in each group studied. A better understanding of underdiagnosis is needed to address gaps in asthma care and intervention for low-income communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1599-1603
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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