Date of Award
Open Access Thesis
MS in Physician Assistant Studies (PA)
Physician Assistant Studies
Alicia Quella PHD, PA-C
Pediatric asthma is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality among children worldwide. In Costa Rica, rates of childhood asthma are among the highest in the world. Many factors contribute to the rising prevalence of asthma, including increasing urbanization and westernization, indoor and outdoor air pollution, diet, and lifestyle. According to the WHO, air quality in Costa Rica is considered moderately unsafe, with a disproportionate exposure to air pollution in low-income urban areas. Social inequalities further contribute to the development and progression of asthma in Costa Rica. Children living in low socioeconomic neighborhoods have greater exposures to air pollution through higher traffic density and proximity to landfills and powerplants. Increasing rates of obesity and limited access to antioxidant-rich fresh produce also contribute to asthma presence and severity. While Costa Rica has implemented a National Asthma Program, much of its efforts have been focused on optimizing asthma treatment, rather than reducing occurrence. Addressing the social determinants of health within the country, by specifically focusing on living conditions and equitable access to clean air, water, and fresh produce, will help to improve the overall health of Costa Ricans and reduce the socioeconomic burden of childhood asthma.
Huber, Katherine, "Environmental Influences on Pediatric Asthma: The Role of Social Determinants of Health in Costa Rica" (2021). Theses and Graduate Projects. 1125.