It is generally surmised that community stressors have an incubating effect for a variety of diagnoses on maternal and child health. This is of public health significance, as children of mothers facing long-term distress were found to have a 60% higher risk for asthma diagnosis at age 7 in Manitoba, Canada. Our objective was to determine the association of community stressors with childhood asthma prevalence in Winnipeg, Canada from participants who completed the Study of Asthma, Genes and the Environment (SAGE) survey administered in 2002–2003 to a birth cohort from 1995. Measures of community socioeconomic makeup and community disorder with rank ordinalized by quintile at the census tract level were obtained from the 1996 Canada Census. Crime data (annual incidence per 10,000 persons) by neighbourhood profile for 2001 was provided by the Winnipeg Police Service. Dichotomous caregiver report of child asthma along with other indicators from the geocoded SAGE survey allowed linkage to 23 neighbourhood profiles. Multilevel logistic regression analyses were performed to estimate the effect of community stressors on childhood asthma prevalence for birth and non-birth home children ( N = 1472) and children resident of birth homes at age 7 or 8 ( N = 698). After adjusting for individual risk factors, children resident of birth homes in a high thefts over $5,000 neighbourhood profile were twice as likely (Adjusted OR, 2.05; 95% CI, 1.11–3.81) to have report of asthma compared to children in a lower thefts over $5,000 profile, with community thefts over $5,000 explaining over half of the observed neighbourhood variation in asthma.
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