Purpose of review
The current review provides an assessment of the recent pediatric literature evaluating socioeconomic drivers of asthma incidence and morbidity. The review addresses the specific social determinants of health related to housing, indoor and outdoor environmental exposures, healthcare access and quality, and the impact of systematic racism.
Many social risk factors are associated with adverse asthma outcomes. Children living in low-income, urban neighborhoods have greater exposure to both indoor and outdoor hazards, including molds, mice, second-hand smoke, chemicals, and air pollutants, all of which are associated with adverse asthma outcomes. Providing asthma education in the community – via telehealth, school-based health centers, or peer mentors – are all effective methods for improving medication adherence and asthma outcomes. The racially segregated neighborhoods created by the racist ‘redlining’ policies implemented decades ago, persist today as hotspots of poverty, poor housing conditions, and adverse asthma outcomes.
Routine screening for social determinants of health in clinical settings is important to identify the social risk factors of pediatric patients with asthma. Interventions targeting social risk factors can improve pediatric asthma outcomes, but more studies are needed related to social risk interventions.