The rate at which children and youth age 19 and under who live in the City of St. Louis visit the emergency room to treat complications from asthma
Black children are more than ten times as likely as white children to visit emergency rooms for asthma-related complications.
A score of 100 represents racial equity, meaning there are no racial disparities in outcomes between black and white populations. The lower the Equity Score, the greater the disparity.
For Child Asthma, a score of 100 — a score reflecting racial equity — would mean black and white children are equally likely to have asthma. It is important to note that for this indicator, equity is not our only goal: we also want to improve outcomes for all.
What does this indicator measure?
Child Asthma measures the rate at which children and youth age 19 and under who live in the City of St. Louis visit the emergency room to treat complications from asthma. Asthma is a condition in which there is inflammation of the airways that makes it hard to breathe. In 2015, there were 2,048 emergency room visits made by children for issues related to asthma, which represents 4.4% of all child emergency room visits.
Child Asthma Analysis
Emergency room visits for asthma per 1,000 children age 19 and under in St. Louis City.
|All||Black||White||Disparity Ratio||Equity Score|
|Emergency room visits for asthma||2,084||1,804||102||-||-|
|Asthma emergency room visits per 1,000 children||28.77||42.44||3.93||10.799 to 1||1|
Data Source: Environmental Public Health Tracking Program, Missouri Public Health Information Management System (MOPHIMS), 2015.
Data Note: It is important to note that the data reported is a count of emergency room visits, not visits by unique children. Rates for this indicator are provided by the Missouri DHSS and are age-adjusted based on 2000 standard population.
What does this analysis mean?
Black children are more than ten times as likely as white children to visit emergency rooms for asthma-related complications. Black children visited the emergency room for asthma 1,804 times in 2015, while in that same time period white children visited the emergency room 102 times. This translates to a rate of 42.44 emergency room visits per 1,000 black children, compared to 3.93 visits per 1,000 white children.
If asthma rates were equitable, black children would have had 1,622 fewer emergency room visits for asthma in 2015.
Why does Child Asthma matter?
Asthma is one of the most prevalent and severe chronic health issues for children. According to the St. Louis chapter of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, asthma is the top reason for a child to be hospitalized in Missouri. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services states, “Pediatric asthma results in missed learning opportunities, elevated acute health care utilization, and costs.” Asthma makes it harder for children to play and be active, which can lead to other health concerns such as obesity.
Which Calls to Action from the Ferguson Commission report are linked with this indicator?
While the Ferguson Commission report does not directly reference child asthma, it calls for "supporting the whole child." The health of children affects their academic performance and behavior in school. The report also calls for the establishment of school-based health centers to improve childhood physical and mental health.
Questions for further investigation
- Why is there a racial disparity in Child Asthma?
- What can St. Louis do to reduce racial disparities in Child Asthma?
- What initiatives are currently underway to reduce racial disparities in Child Asthma?
How can I learn more about this issue?
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services issued a report in February 2017 in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Missouri Asthma Prevention and Control Program: Surveillance Update."
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, St. Louis Chapter (AAFA-STL), a United Way Agency, has been a leading resource for those with asthma and allergies in the St. Louis community.AAFA-STL’s medical assistance program, BREATH (formerly Project Concern), provides uninsured and underinsured children with life-saving asthma and allergy medications, equipment, education, and support.