MONDAY, March 11, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Urban children with asthma, particularly those who are ethnic minorities, have more school absences than their peers without asthma, according to a study published online March 11 in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology.

Daphne Koinis-Mitchell, Ph.D., from the Bradley/Hasbro Children’s Research Center in Providence, Rhode Island, and colleagues compared academic performances of a group of urban children with asthma to the academic performances of their urban counterparts without asthma. Data were included for 395 participants: 130 healthy control children and 265 children with asthma (age 8.30 years on average).

The researchers found that children with asthma had a significantly greater number of school absences compared with healthy controls, with a nearly three-day difference between groups (difference, 2.65 days). With respect to other academic indicators, there were no significant differences between the asthma and control groups. Among children with asthma, better lung function correlated with teacher reports of better-quality school work and less careless work; better asthma control correlated with a higher quality of work and fewer absences and was borderline associated with more work completed and higher Wide Range Achievement Test-Third Edition math scores. Significant associations between asthma and academic indicators were stratified by ethnicity, with poorer academic outcomes for Latino and black children versus non-Latino whites.

“Poor asthma control can affect children’s daily functioning,” the authors write. “Children’s optimal school performance, a key factor in their future learning and academic trajectory, is at stake.”

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