Distance to Health Care and the Prevalence of Asthma in School Age Children

Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
  • Dosman, James A.;
  • Rennie, Donna C.


Childhood asthma is a leading cause of hospitalization and immediate emergency room use by children. Not all children living in rural areas are in close proximity to health care resources. In this population-based study, conducted with parents of children attending Grades 1 to 5 in the central region of Saskatchewan, Canada, we examined the distance in kilometers (km) to health care services (hospital/emergency room or doctor's visit) for children with or without asthma. Of the 2,475 children responding to the survey, information concerning distance to health care was available for 1,704 children. The mean distance to the hospital/emergency room was 29.1 km (median 25.6 km and range 0.5 to 192 km). The cumulative prevalence of childhood asthma was 10.0%. After controlling for the effects of age and sex, there continued to be a negative association between the prevalence of asthma and distance to hospital/emergency room facilities. As the distance to hospital/emergency room increased, the prevalence of asthma decreased [Β(α) = -413; SE = 2.04; t = -2.02; p<0.05]. We conclude that distance to health care could adversely affect use of health care facilities by children with asthma.

Full article can be found in: Journal of Agricultural Safety and Health
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