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Resource ID: #26574
Although the relationship between childhood asthma and poverty can be demonstrated in several cities across the country, we focused our investigation on low-income New York City neighborhoods. It's a story where the health of children can be charted by their “economic address,” their zip codes. In East Harlem, one of the city's poorest neighborhoods the children's asthma rate is more than 20%, but move a few blocks downtown to the Upper East Side, where incomes are higher, and that rate drops to 8%. The difference in hospitalization rates is staggering: East Harlem children are 13 times more likely to be hospitalized for the disease than their wealthier counterparts. The question BREATHLESS sought to answer is “why?” Asthma is a complicated disease and extensive literature points to causes such as crime related stress, obesity and the close proximity to pollution from truck traffic and industrial area -- all conditions much more prevalent in low-income neighborhoods.