We conducted a survey to determine parent-reported asthma prevalence, morbidity, and healthcare utilization among 3,527 children attending public schools (n = 2,849) and private schools (n = 678) in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Schools were randomly selected from each of 12 geographic regions of the San Juan metropolitan area. Parents of children age 4-7 years old completed a 12-item questionnaire on asthma diagnosis, respiratory symptoms and morbidity, and healthcare utilization. Parents of children in public schools and private schools reported similar rates of a physician having previously diagnosed asthma in their children (43.2% vs. 39.4%); however, significantly more children in public schools were reported to still have asthma at the time of the survey (32.6% vs. 23.7%). Children attending public schools vs. private schools were reported to have missed significantly more school and to have had more hospitalizations and emergency department visits. Among children reported to still have asthma, significantly more children visited an emergency department, were hospitalized, and missed more school days due to respiratory symptoms in the past year. The high prevalence of parent-reported asthma, respiratory symptoms, and healthcare utilization among Puerto Rican children in San Juan calls for further studies using objective methods for ascertaining asthma and asthma-related morbidity. Differences in healthcare utilization between children attending public vs. private schools suggest that socioeconomic factors play a role in asthma management in Puerto Rico.
- Healthcare utilization
- Pediatric asthma
- Puerto Rico
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine