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Income Disparities in Asthma Burden and Care in California

December 1, 2010

Policy Research Report

Authors: Joelle Wolstein, PhD, MPP, MA, Ying-Ying Meng, DrPH, Susan H. Babey, PhD

Although asthma occurs among Californians at all socio-economic levels, it disproportionately affects low-income Californians, who miss more days of work and school, are more likely to have frequent asthma symptoms, and are more likely to go to the emergency department or be hospitalized for asthma care. In this report, the burden of asthma on low-income Californians is examined by geography, race/ethnicity, age and access to care, among other factors. The authors suggest that disparities in asthma prevalence and care are likely due to a number of factors including inadequate access to health insurance coverage, lack of continuity and quality of health care, and an increased likelihood of exposure to asthma triggers and they point to policy and environmental changes that will likely help address these disparities, including adequate health care coverage, quality health care for low-income Californians with asthma, and asthma-friendly environments.

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