Social risks and healthcare utilization among a national sample of children with asthma

Published:August 05, 2022DOI:



      Prior studies using single-center populations have established associations between social risks and healthcare utilization among children with asthma. We aimed to evaluate associations between social risks and healthcare utilization among a nationally representative sample of children with asthma.

      Study Design

      In this cross-sectional study, we utilized the 2018-2019 National Survey of Children's Health to identify children 2-17 years old with asthma. Using the Healthy People (HP) 2030 social determinants of health (SDOH) framework, we identified 31 survey items assessing 18 caregiver-identified social risks as exposure variables and classified them into the five HP SDOH domains (Economy, Education, Healthcare, Community, and Environment). Primary outcome was caregiver-reported healthcare utilization. Associations between individual social risks and total number of SDOH domains experienced with healthcare utilization were assessed.


      The weighted study population included 8.05 million children, 96% of whom reported ≥1 social risk. Fourteen social risks, spanning all 5 SDOH domains, were significantly associated with increased healthcare utilization. The 3 risks with the highest adjusted odds ratios (aOR) of healthcare utilization included: experiencing discrimination (aOR 3.26 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.75, 6.08]); receiving free/reduced lunch (aOR 2.16, [95% CI 1.57, 2.98]); and being a victim of violence (aOR 2.11, [95% CI 1.11, 4]). Children with risks across more SDOH domains reported significantly higher health care utilization.


      Among our national population of children with asthma, social risks are prevalent and associated with increased healthcare utilization, highlighting their potential contribution to pediatric asthma morbidity.

      Key Words


      NSCH (National Survey of Children's Health), HP (Healthy People), SDOH (social determinants of health), aOR (adjusted odds ratio), ED (emergency department), AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics)
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