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Postgrad Med. 2010 Sep;122(5):110-5. doi: 10.3810/pgm.2010.09.2207.

Grade retention risk among children with asthma and other chronic health conditions in a large urban school district.

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Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Unit of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Community Health Sciences, Las Vegas, NV 89154-3064, USA.


Asthma accounts for 12.8 million missed school days for children nationwide. Whether this excess absenteeism contributes to poor outcomes such as grade retention is of interest. The Clark County School District in Las Vegas, NV has incorporated the Federal "No Child Left Behind Act," which states that absences per individual in excess of 10 per school year are considered unapproved and may put a child at risk for repeating a grade. The purpose of this study was to determine if children with asthma are at increased risk for absenteeism associated with grade retention. Secondary data were obtained for students in attendance for the 2006-2007 school year. Days absent were weighted for enrollment time. Frequencies were obtained using descriptive statistics, and multivariate logistic regression was used to model the odds of absenteeism > 10 days per year. Of 300 881 students, 27 299 (9.1%) reported having asthma, as determined by school health records. The population was 52% male, 37% white, and 39% Hispanic. Significant predictors of missing > 10 days per school year included ethnicity, gender, grade, and health status (P < 0.0001). Students with asthma (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.5) or asthma plus another health condition (aOR, 1.6) were at significantly increased odds of missing > 10 school days per year compared with healthy students or those with a medical condition other than asthma (P < 0.0001). Lastly, some disparities were found in current grade point average by race, gender, and asthma status. Children with asthma have a greater risk of absenteeism associated with grade retention. Therefore, improved asthma management and tailored education is necessary to identify and eliminate asthma triggers in the home and school setting for school-aged children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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