Latest Research Shows Greater Risks Of Asthma For Children With Disabilities


Recent research showed that children with disabilities are more likely to develop asthma. Jeanette A. Stingone and Luz Claudio with the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY have performed the research.

Asthma is the condition in which one feels difficulty in breathing. Although a large number of children suffer from it, the treatment exists.

53 million children in the world (approximately 9%) have developmental disabilities. In 2019, 1 in 6 US children were reported to be disabled.

According to the JAMA network, developmental disabilities are described as a combination of chronic conditions due to an impairment in several areas. This could potentially involve physical, learning, speech, and behavioral restraints, resulting in functional difficulties.

In the US, almost 6 million children suffer from asthma. Half of them had to miss their school because of their breathing problems.

The senior author of the study and professor of epidemiology, human genetics, and environmental sciences at UTHealth School of Public Health in Dallas, Sarah Messiah, says that the clinicians should know that disabled children may have other diseases.

She said that not only clinicians, but schools and after-school programs should also take it into account. She stressed that it is equally essential to recognize that these children generally find it difficult to express their distress, especially regarding asthma.

Research about asthma

Researchers selected 24 public elementary schools in New York randomly. A parent-report questionnaire focusing on special education enrollment, sociodemographic characteristics, asthma diagnosis and symptoms, school absences, and use of health care services details of children were used.

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Study found that thirty-four percent of the children in special education schools suffered from asthma. In comparison, 19% of the children in general schools were also suffering from it.

The authors explained that after the regulation of sociodemographic circumstances, children with asthma were 60% more prone than other children, to get enlisted in special education.

Co-author of the research and professor at UTHealth, Dr. George Delclos also commented on the matter. He explained that both interlinked problems in children point towards essential determinants of educational absenteeism.

71,811 participants, average age 8 years, 36,800 were boys and 35,011 girls were analyzed. Out of them, 5687 had asthma and 11,426 were facing disability. Asthma prevalence was higher in the disabled children as compared to those who had no disabilities.

16% of the children, who had at least one disability, had concurrent asthma conditions. 6.5% of healthy children also experienced concurrent asthma conditions. The highest asthma prevalence, however, was in ethnic minority children as compared to non-Hispanic white children.


The study had limitations as it was a cross-sectional study.

The authors explained that the parent report of disability and/or asthma may be more likely to state and remember prejudice. However, their prevalence estimations were alike to previous research, which indicated the precision and uniformity of their data source.

Moreover, the study didn’t take maternal age at the time of birth, and missed school days by the children, into account. However, this study shows that the government should take measures of the healthy growth of disabled children.

The discussed study is not the only one that determines the link between disability and asthma. Another study conducted in 2000, concluded that 1.4% of all US children faced disability due to asthma. The rate was even higher for black children and children from low-income backgrounds.

Moreover, the experts noticed that the commonness of disabling asthma increased by 232% over three decades. However, the prevalence of disability due to other causes increased by 113% over the same period.

Adeena Tariq Lari
The author is a graduate of dental surgery from the Dow University Health Sciences, Karachi. She has an academic background in content writing as well as English literature, giving her an edge in the field. Adeena is always curious about physical and mental health. She is always passionate about research and delivering high-quality reliable content to users.