Rural children in Saskatchewan are underdiagnosed for asthma compared with children living in cities, a University of Saskatchewan study shows.
Researchers Oluwafemi Oluwole and Joshua Lawson have shed light on findings from previous studies that indicated rural children are less likely to have asthma. Without investigating diagnostic explanations, those studies suggested that early-life exposure to dust and other environmental allergens may have protected rural children from developing asthma.
“This may not be entirely the case,” said Oluwole, a post-doctoral fellow in the College of Nursing. “We found that rural children are less likely to be diagnosed for asthma. As a result, they may have more difficulties managing their asthma. This may lead to discomfort, limitations to their daily activities, and stress for them and their families.”
The researchers found that rural parents had to travel 30 minutes longer to access healthcare for their children, compared to their city counterparts. The research, which was Oluwole’s PhD project, was published in the Journal of Asthma and compared data from children and teenagers who lived in urban and rural areas.
“The issue of asthma underdiagnosis in rural areas is complex but the longer time to travel to obtain health care may impact rural parents’ decisions to take their child to a healthcare facility,” said Lawson, a professor in the College of Medicine and Oluwole’s former supervisor.
Read more on the university's research site.
This article first ran as part of the 2018 Young Innovators series, an initiative of the U of S Research Profile and Impact office in partnership with the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.