In this Jan. 6, 2012 file photo, the Boston city skyline is illuminated at dusk as it reflects off the waters of Boston Harbor. The U.S. Olympic Committee picked Boston on Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, as its bid city for the 2024 Summer Games. The city will be presented to the International Olympic Committee for a vote in 2017. Rome also is in the bidding, along with Hamburg or Berlin, Germany. France and Hungary also are considering bids. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)
In this Jan. 6, 2012 file photo, the Boston city skyline is illuminated at dusk as it reflects off the waters of Boston Harbor. The U.S. Olympic Committee picked Boston on Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, as its bid city for the 2024 Summer Games. The city will be presented to the International Olympic Committee for a vote in 2017. Rome also is in the bidding, along with Hamburg or Berlin, Germany. France and Hungary also are considering bids. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)
In this Jan. 6, 2012 file photo, the Boston city skyline is illuminated at dusk as it reflects off the waters of Boston Harbor. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

(Reuters) – The simple fact of growing up in a big city may not be a major factor in whether a child develops asthma, according to a new study that contradicts decades of public health assumptions about the so-called inner city asthma epidemic.

Instead, researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore found that being poor, black or Puerto Rican are the most important factors that determine a child’s asthma risk.

“Our results highlight the changing face of pediatric asthma and suggest that living in an urban area is, by itself, not a risk factor for asthma,” said Dr. Corinne Keet, a pediatric allergy and asthma specialist at Johns Hopkins, whose study was published on Tuesday in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Although prior studies have looked at asthma rates within specific cities, no study has compared asthma rates in inner city areas across the United States, or looked at how asthma compares in other types of communities, Keet said.

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