Dr. Luisa Borrell, professor of epidemiology at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy and colleagues, evaluated maternal age at birth and the increased risk of asthma in offspring among Latino populations. The work was published in Clinical and Experimental Allergy.
[Photo: Dr. Luisa Borrell]
The study population included 3473 Latino children aged 8-21 years from five U.S. centers and Puerto Rico, recruited from July 2008 through November 2011. Of those, 1696 had physician-diagnosed asthma and 1777 were healthy controls. The research team stratified their data by ethnic subgroup (Mexican American, Puerto Rican and other Latino) and also performed a secondary analyses of the effects of siblings, acculturation and income on this relationship.
Maternal age < 20 years was significantly associated with decreased odds of asthma in offspring, independent of other risk factors. When analyzing the data by ethnic subgroup, the protective effect of younger maternal age was observed only in Mexican Americans. In Puerto Ricans, older maternal age was associated with decreased odds of asthma. In further stratified models, the protective effect of younger maternal age in Mexican Americans was seen only in children without older siblings.
The researchers concluded that while asthma is common in urban minority populations, the factors underlying the varying prevalence among different Latino ethnicities in the United States is not well understood. Maternal age represents one factor that may help to explain this variability.