July 8, 2005

Asthma risk high for US-born Mexican American kids

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Children of Mexican descent who
are born in the US are nearly twice as likely to develop asthma
as those born in Mexico, according to a new report.

"Our study is the first to document variations in the
prevalence of asthma and respiratory symptoms among a national
and a representative sample of Mexican American children,"
Kamal M. Eldeirawi, from the University of Illinois at Chicago,
and colleagues note.

Still, further research is needed to uncover the factors
responsible for the variations seen, they add.

The findings are based on a study of 4121 Mexican American
children who participated in the Third National Health and
Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III).

Compared with being born in Mexico, birth in the US doubled
the likelihood of having asthma or recent wheeze, the team
reports in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

US-born Mexican Americans were also more likely than their
Mexico-born counterparts to have a positive skin-prick reaction
to a variety of allergens, such as cat, house mite, and peanut.
By contrast, they were less likely to have a skin reaction to
German cockroaches.

"These findings highlight the need for further studies to
examine environmental factors that change by migration and
explain the observed differential in the risk of asthma or
wheezing," the authors conclude.

SOURCE: Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, July