The idea that differences in normal lung functioning reflect racial characteristics is well established in respiratory medicine and epidemiology. However, two “fundamental issues” surround lung function and epidemiologic research:
To determine to what extent socioeconomic factors affect racial differences in lung function, these researchers used data from the Third National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey. They looked at the relationship among race, high school completion and lung function for African-Americans and Whites.
They found that high school completion is associated with increased lung function in men and women, with significant racial differences, the effect being more pronounced for Whites than Blacks.
The authors believe their analysis has identified several shortcomings in current approaches to the relationship among socioeconomic status, race and lung function and that more attention should be paid to the methodologies used to analyze lung function across populations.