TRAVIS COUNTY (KXAN) — Children in Travis County are being hospitalized at a significantly higher rate than children in the United States overall, according to a new study.
The Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin said eastern Travis County had the highest rates of emergency room visits and hospitalizations for children with asthma. Specifically, the study found neighborhoods east of Interstate 35 had the highest rates.
Dell Med looked at health data to compare rates of asthma-related ER visits among Travis County residents in 2016 and 2017. The study found that 16 out of every 10,000 kids younger than 18 in Travis County are hospitalized for asthma per year.
Nationally, only 10 out of 10,000 children are hospitalized.
Travis County’s rate is 60% higher than the national average, Dell Med says.
The study also found the Travis County Latino population was largely affected by asthma.
“When the team examined asthma ER visit rates by neighborhood, we were surprised to find such a heavy burden of asthma in areas where most ethnic minority residents are Latinx, primarily of Mexican origin – a population traditionally thought to be at very low risk of asthma,” said Elizabeth Matsui, M.D., MHS, professor of population health and pediatrics.
Researchers said the reasons for such high rates of asthma-related illnesses in Travis County are not yet fully understood but more research into the environmental inequities, as well as racial and ethnic disparities should be conducted.