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Housing Mobility and Childhood Asthma

In the Mobility Asthma Project (MAP), children whose families were helped to move to better-resourced neighborhoods had lower rates of asthma morbidity, a study shows. “As policy makers and clinicians develop and test programs to support families in neighborhoods with a legacy of more than a century of housing discrimination, these findings provide evidence of their potential benefits for children’s health,” the authors conclude.

Included in the cohort study were 123 children aged 5 to 17 years with persistent asthma whose families participated in the Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership housing mobility program from 2016 to 2020. Compared with 115 children enrolled in the Urban Environment and Childhood Asthma (URECA) birth cohort, those moving to a low-poverty neighborhood had these changes in caregiver-reported asthma exacerbations and symptoms: “Among 123 children enrolled in the program, median age was 8.4 years, 58 (47.2%) were female, and 120 (97.6%) were Black. Prior to moving, 89 of 110 children (81%) lived in a high-poverty census tract (>20% of families below the poverty line); after moving, only 1 of 106 children with after-move data (0.9%) lived in a high-poverty tract. Among this cohort, 15.1% (SD, 35.8) had at least 1 exacerbation per 3-month period prior to moving vs 8.5% (SD, 28.0) after moving, an adjusted difference of −6.8 percentage points (95% CI, −11.9% to −1.7%; P = .009). Maximum symptom days in the past 2 weeks were 5.1 (SD, 5.0) before moving and 2.7 (SD, 3.8) after moving, an adjusted difference of −2.37 days (95% CI, −3.14 to −1.59; P < .001). Results remained significant in propensity score–matched analyses with URECA data. Measures of stress, including social cohesion, neighborhood safety, and urban stress, all improved with moving and were estimated to mediate between 29% and 35% of the association between moving and asthma exacerbations.”

Source: JAMA