Asthma and food allergy management in chicago public schools

Gupta, R. S.; Rivkina, V.; DeSantiago-Cardenas, L.; Smith, B.; Harvey-Gintoft, B.; Whyte, S. A.

Pediatrics. 2014 Sep 10; 134(4):729-36


OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to characterize asthma and food allergy reporting and management in Chicago Public Schools. METHODS: Demographic and health data for students who have asthma and food allergy were extracted from the Chicago Public Schools database. Demographic and geographic variability and the existence of school health management plans were analyzed, and multiple logistic regression models were computed. Home addresses were geocoded to create maps of case counts per community area. RESULTS: Approximately 18 000 asthmatic and 4000 food allergic students were identified. Of asthmatic students, 9.3% had a food allergy; of food allergic students, 40.1% had asthma. Asthma odds were significantly higher among black and Hispanic students (odds ratio [OR] = 2.3 and 1.3, respectively), whereas food allergy odds were significantly higher among black students (OR = 1.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.0-1.3) and significantly lower among Hispanic students (OR = 0.8; 95% CI, 0.7-0.9). Only 24.3% of students who had asthma and 50.9% of students who had food allergy had a school health management plan on file. Odds of having a school health management plan were significantly higher among students with both conditions, but the likelihood of having a plan on file was significantly lower among racial/ethnic minority and low-income students, regardless of medical condition. CONCLUSIONS: Only 1 in 4 students who have asthma and half of food allergic students have health management plans in schools, with lower numbers among minority and low-income students. Improving chronic disease reporting and access to school health management plans is critical.

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