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A study led by Dr. Earle C. Chambers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York, analyzed how living in public housing affects childhood asthma and other chronic pediatric health conditions. Dr. Chambers’ work recognizes housing as a critical social determinant of health. The study is just one of a few studies to examine the association between public housing and worse child health outcomes. 

The study was composed of 10,770 female and male participants, ages 2 to 17 years old. Approximately 11% of the participants lived in public housing. Youth who lived in public housing were more likely to be Non-Hispanic Black or Hispanic/Latino, more likely to have Medicaid insurance, and more likely to live in racially segregated and impoverished areas. Clinical and residential data were obtained via the participants’ electronic health records. 

The study ultimately found that the prevalence of asthma (p < 0.001), obesity (p < 0.001), depression/anxiety (p = 0.008), and behavioral disorders (p < 0.001) was higher among youth who lived in public housing. Moreover, the increase in asthma prevalence among youth living in public housing held across all age groups (early childhood, middle childhood, and early adolescence) and increased with age. 

The study concluded that chronic pediatric health conditions like asthma are more common among youth living in public housing. A call to action is made advocating for better-funded partnerships between housing authorities and health systems. Such an intervention might help to increase access to quality care and decrease disparate childhood asthma outcomes [1]. 


[1] Chambers, E. C., Heller, C., Fiori, K., McAuliff, K., & Rehm, C. D. (2020). Chronic pediatric health conditions among youth living in public housing and receiving care in a large hospital system in Bronx, NY. Global Pediatric Health, 7, 2333794X2097116. https://doi.org/10.1177/2333794×20971164

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