Asthma (see data for this topic)
- Websites with Related Information
- California Air Resources Board: Asthma and Air Pollution
- California Breathing, California Dept. of Public Health, Environmental Health Investigations Branch
- California Environmental Health Tracking Program: Asthma
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Asthma
- MedlinePlus: Asthma in Children, U.S. National Library of Medicine
- Regional Asthma Management and Prevention, Public Health Institute
- Key Reports and Research
- America’s Children and the Environment (3rd ed.), 2013, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Association of Improved Air Quality with Lung Development in Children, 2015, New England Journal of Medicine, Gauderman, W. J., et al.
- Asthma in Children and Adolescents: Professional Resource Guide, 2014, Maternal and Child Health Digital Library, Brune Lorenzo, S.
- Asthma Prevalence in California: A Surveillance Report, 2017, California Dept. of Public Health, Environmental Health Investigations Branch, Milet, M.
- Asthma-Related School Absenteeism and School Concentration of Low-Income Students in California, 2012, Preventing Chronic Disease, Meng, Y., et al.
- Changing Trends in Asthma Prevalence Among Children, 2016, Pediatrics, Akinbami, L. J., et al.
- Children’s Environmental Health Disparities: Black and African American Children and Asthma, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Costs of Environmental Health Conditions in California Children, 2015, Public Health Institute, California Environmental Health Tracking Program
- Making Sense of Childhood Asthma: Lessons for Building a Better System of Care, 2014, Urban Institute, McDaniel, M., et al.
- Managing Asthma in the School Environment, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Solutions for Asthma Disparities, 2017, Pediatrics, Volerman, A., et al.
- State of the Air, American Lung Association
- The Indoor Environment and Inner-City Childhood Asthma, 2014, Asian Pacific Journal of Allergy and Immunology, Kanchongkittiphon, W., et al.
- Trends in Pediatric and Adult Hospital Stays for Asthma, 2000-2010, 2014, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Barrett, M. L., et al.
- County/Regional Reports
- Breathing Easy? Child Asthma in Los Angeles County, 2014, Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Health
- Community Health Assessment and Community Health Improvement Plan, Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Health
- Key Indicators of Health by Service Planning Area, 2017, Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Health
- Near-Roadway Pollution and Childhood Asthma: Implications for Developing “Win–Win” Compact Urban Development and Clean Vehicle Strategies, 2012, Environmental Health Perspectives, Perez, L., et al.
- San Mateo County All Together Better, San Mateo County Health
- More Data Sources For Asthma
- Asthma Surveillance Data, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- California Breathing: County Asthma Data Tool, California Dept. of Public Health, Environmental Health Investigations Branch
- California Environmental Health Tracking Program: Asthma Data Query
- California Health and Human Services Open Data Portal, California Health and Human Services Agency
- California Health Interview Survey, UCLA Center for Health Policy Research
- Child Trends Databank: Asthma
- Childstats.gov, Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics
- National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Learn More About This Topic
- Why This Topic Is Important
Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases among children in the U.S. and a leading cause of hospitalizations and absences from school (1, 2). Asthma rates vary by region, demographics, environment, physician diagnostic practices, and access to care. Although identifying the impact of independent risk factors for asthma is difficult, low-income and minority children are at disproportionately high risk for severe symptoms, missed school days, and emergency room visits due to asthma (1, 2, 3).
Asthma sufferers often manage symptoms with medication, trigger avoidance, and regular medical monitoring (1, 2). However, children who face cost barriers to medication or treatment are less likely to have well-controlled asthma than children with access to regular medical care, and may repeatedly be absent from school when their asthma flares up (1, 2, 3).For more information on childhood asthma, see kidsdata.org’s Research & Links section.
Sources for this narrative:
1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2013). America's children and the environment (3rd ed.). Retrieved from: https://www.epa.gov/ace/americas-children-and-environment-third-edition
2. California Environmental Health Tracking Program. (2015). Costs of environmental health conditions in California children. Public Health Institute. Retrieved from: http://www.phi.org/resources/?resource=cehtpkidshealthcosts
3. Milet, M., et al. (2013). Asthma in California: A surveillance report. California Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Investigations Branch. Retrieved from: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CCDPHP/DEODC/OHB/WRAPP/CDPH%20Document%20Library/Asthma_in_California2013.pdf
- Policy Implications
While asthma can be debilitating, even life-threatening, it usually is a controllable disease. Asthma can be triggered by environmental conditions such as outdoor air pollution, tobacco smoke, and poor indoor air quality, as well as by other causes such as viral infections and exercise (1). State, local, and school policies that reduce asthma triggers and that facilitate effective management and treatment of asthma can have positive effects on asthma rates and other health outcomes.
Policy options that could influence asthma rates, treatment, and health consequences include:
For more policy ideas, see kidsdata.org’s Research & Links section or visit California Breathing. Also see the following topics on kidsdata.org: Hospitalizations and Air Quality.
- Ensuring that all children have adequate, accessible, and affordable health care and insurance coverage for effective prevention and treatment of asthma, which includes coverage for asthma medications and supplies (2)
- Enforcing laws and regulations that limit air pollution from vehicles, agricultural and industrial practices, and other sources (1, 3)
- Strengthening school policies that educate students, staff, and parents on asthma care, improve indoor air quality, make it easy for students to manage their asthma at school, and facilitate communication and record sharing among families, schools, and health care providers (1, 4)
- Promoting community-wide, integrated interventions that decrease the burden of asthma on high-risk populations, including outreach and education, home visiting, and reduction of asthma triggers in homes, schools, child care centers, and workplaces (1, 2)
- Funding tobacco control efforts, including restricting access to cigarettes, increasing the availability and use of smoking cessation programs, and limiting smoking in multi-unit housing, as smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke harms lung function and can increase asthmatic symptoms (2, 5)
Sources for this narrative:
1. Milet, M., et al. (2013). Asthma in California: A surveillance report. California Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Investigations Branch. Retrieved from: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CCDPHP/DEODC/OHB/WRAPP/CDPH%20Document%20Library/Asthma_in_California2013.pdf
2. California Department of Public Health. (2015). Strategic plan for asthma in California: 2015-2019. Retrieved from: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CCDPHP/DEODC/EHIB/CPE/CDPH Document Library/SPAC2014_7-28-15APR.pdf
3. McConnell, R., et al. (2010). Childhood incident asthma and traffic-related air pollution at home and school. Environmental Health Perspectives, 118(7), 1021-1026. Retrieved from: https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/10.1289/ehp.0901232
4. Wheeler, L., et al. (2010). Working with schools to improve pediatric asthma management. Pediatric Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology, 22(4), 197-207. Retrieved from: https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/pai.2009.0023
5. Kit, B. K., et al. (2013). U.S. prevalence and trends in tobacco smoke exposure among children and adolescents with asthma. Pediatrics, 131(3), 407-414. Retrieved from: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/131/3/407
- How Children Are Faring
In 2015-2016, an estimated 15% of California children ages 1-17 had been diagnosed with asthma at some point in their lives, similar to estimates from previous years. While asthma does not result in hospitalization for most children, there were 8,694 hospitalizations for asthma among children 0-17 statewide in 2016, a rate of 9.4 hospitalizations per 10,000 children. Among counties with data, childhood asthma hospitalization rates ranged from 4.2 per 10,000 (Santa Cruz) to 17.7 per 10,000 (Fresno). Statewide, rates of asthma hospitalization are higher for children ages 0-4 (16.9 per 10,000 in 2016) than for older children ages 5-17 (6.7 per 10,000 in 2016).
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