Variability in childhood asthma and body mass index across northern plains American Indian communities

Curtis W. Noonan, Blakely D. Brown, Bonnie Bentley, Kathrene Conway, Mary Corcoran, Kris Fourstar, Priscilla Freide, Bethany Hemlock, Sharon Wagner, Todd Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objective. There are sparse data on the variability in childhood asthma across different Native American communities and the corresponding associations with known risk factors such as high body mass index and family history. The purpose of this study is to evaluate cross-sectional data on childhood asthma prevalence, body mass index, and other descriptive variables among Native Americans in five rural Northern Plains Indian reservation communities. Methods. A school-based screening program was conducted on four Northern Plains Indian Reservations. The 1852 children (96 Native American, 4th through 12th grades) were screened for asthma status, body mass index (BMI), and family history. Results. Approximately 9.5 of students reported current asthma. Current asthma varied significantly across the four reservation sites, ranging from 5.7 to 12.6. Current asthma was also positively associated with BMI and family history of asthma. Conclusions. The intertribal differences in asthma prevalence noted here emphasize the need for further understanding the intertribal environmental, social, and behavioral factors that are associated with childhood asthma and obesity. Such knowledge can help inform disease prevention or disease management strategies that encompass the unique characteristics of tribal communities and culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)496-500
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Asthma
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Asthma
  • Children
  • Native American
  • Northern Plains
  • Obesity


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