Parents as a risk factor for poor asthma control

Telephone interviews conducted by researchers at Boston University in Massachusetts point to parents as a significant contributor to poor asthma control in their children.

First, the details.

  • Telephone interviews were conducted with the parents of 754 children, 2- to 12-year-old with persistent asthma.
  • Suboptimal control was defined as at least 4 days of symptoms, at least 1 night of symptoms, or at least 4 days of using albuterol (Proventil) in the previous 2 weeks.
  • Underuse of controller (albuterol) medicine was defined as suboptimal control and reports by parents of less than 6 days/week of inhaled steroid use.

And, the results.

  • 37% of children had suboptimal asthma control.
    • This was more common in Hispanic children (51%) vs black (37%) and white (32%) children.
  • Underuse of controller medication was present in 48% of those with suboptimal asthma control and 18% overall.
    • Again, this was more common in Hispanic (44%) vs black (34%) and white (22%) children.
  • Suboptimal asthma control was associated with low parental expectations for symptom control and high levels of worry about competing household priorities.
  • Underuse of controller medication was associated with parental estimation of asthma control that was not in line with national guidelines and no set time to administer asthma medications.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “Deficiencies in asthma control and controller medication use are associated with potentially modifiable parental beliefs.”

I think the results are important for 2 reasons. First, as stated above, it’s a problem that should be manageable in the doctors office through better focused family-based education.

Second, look at the statistics regarding the growth in the US Hispanic population.

  • The estimated Hispanic population in the U.S. is 45.5 million, making this the nation’s largest ethnic or race minority — 15% of the total population.
  • About 1 of every 2 people added to the nation’s population is Hispanic.
  • Only Mexico (109 million) has a larger Hispanic population than the U.S.

For more Census Bureau data, go here.

12/2/08 21:30 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.