United States, El Puente: Survey on Asthma and Home Remedies, 1999

The survey covered 3015 people in 946 households. It was held in 6 of the same neighborhoods as the 1998 survey and 4 new areas with an overlap of approximately 55% of buildings.

Three out of 10 people surveyed did not have any health insurance. Nearly half the children of Mexican, Central American or South American families, and almost 2 out of 5 Dominican children were not currently insured. In all, some 19% of those under 19 years of age remained uncovered when they could have free coverage under New York State’s Child Health Plus (CH+) program. With these groups clearly targeted, El Puente was awarded State funding for a CH+ enrollment campaign.

Comparison by age groups in rates of self-reported asthma (SRA) in 1998 and 1999 El Puente asthma surveys
Age groups (n)SRA 1998 (%)SRA 1999 (%)
0-4 (280)11.114.4
5-14 (672)14.415.3
15-34 (1011)12.49.3
35-64 (875)13.012.3
65+ (165)15.811.9
Total (3003)12.411.9

Total self-reported asthma prevalence was quite similar to that reported in 1998, with some variation by age groups, as the nearby table indicates. Some remarkable differences in asthma prevalence were discovered when this was analyzed by cultural tradition. The American Journal of Public Health commissioned an article on these findings which was published in 2000 (See separate entry).

Some 71 different plants and a dozen fish or animal products were used by area residents in home remedies for various illnesses. These remedies were employed in many different combinations. Nearly three out of ten asthma sufferers (29%) used some kind of home remedy for asthma. Nine out of ten of those with asthma who used home remedies also took asthma medication prescribed by a physician, but two thirds did not discuss the use of these remedies with their doctor. El Puente’s health promoters followed up with home remedy users to urge them to discuss home remedy use with their physicians and to obtain more information about quantities, dosage, duration of use, etc.