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- Definition: Estimated percentage of children ages 1-17 who have ever been diagnosed with asthma (e.g., in 2015-2016, an estimated 15.2% of California children had been diagnosed with asthma).
- Data Source: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, California Health Interview Survey (Mar. 2018).
- Footnote: These estimates are based on a survey of the population and are subject to both sampling and nonsampling error. The notation S refers to data that have been suppressed because the sample size was lower than 50, the estimate was less than 0.1%, or the data were suppressed by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. N/A means that data are not available. For more information about the California Health Interview Survey, see http://healthpolicy.ucla.edu/chis.
- Measures of Asthma on Kidsdata.org
On kidsdata.org, estimates of childhood asthma prevalence are derived from reports of children ages 1-17 who have ever been diagnosed with asthma. Asthma hospitalizations—which reflect the most severe asthmatic episodes—also are provided for children ages 0-17, by age group.
- Air Quality
- Characteristics of Children with Special Needs
- Active California Children's Services (CCS) Enrollees, by Age Group
- Children with Special Health Care Needs (California & U.S. Only)
- Prevalence of Special Health Care Needs Among Children (Regions of 70,000 Residents or More)
- Children with Four or More Functional Difficulties, by Type of Insurance (California & U.S. Only)
- Access to Services for Children with Special Needs
- Children with Special Health Care Needs Who Need Five or More Services (California & U.S. Only)
- Referrals to Specialty Care for Children with Special Health Care Needs (California & U.S. Only)
- Insurance Coverage for Children with Special Health Care Needs
- Insurance Coverage for Children with Special Health Care Needs (Regions of 70,000 Residents or More)
- Consistency of Insurance Coverage, by Special Needs Status (California & U.S. Only)
- Impact of Special Health Care Needs on Children & Families
- Impact of Child's Special Health Care Needs on Parental Employment (California & U.S. Only)
- Overnight Hospital Stays Among Children with Special Health Care Needs (California Only)
- Repeating a Grade in School, by Special Needs Status (California & U.S. Only)
- School Days Missed Among Children with Special Health Care Needs (California & U.S. Only)
- Quality of Care for Children with Special Health Care Needs
- Health Care
- Delayed or No Medical Care
- Length of Time Since Last Routine Health Check-Up
- Visited the Emergency Room in Last Year, by Type of Insurance
- Uninsured at Any Point in Last Year
- Health Insurance Coverage (Regions of 65,000 Residents or More), by Age Group
- Health Insurance Coverage (Regions of 10,000 Residents or More), by Age Group
- Medicaid (Medi-Cal) or CHIP Coverage, by City, School District and County (Regions of 65,000 Residents or More)
- Medicaid (Medi-Cal) and CHIP Yearly Enrollment (California & U.S. Only)
- Medi-Cal Average Monthly Enrollment, by Age Group
- Receipt of Care Within a Medical Home
- School Health Centers
- School Provides Adequate Health Services (Staff Reported)
- Pupil Support Services
- Hospital Use
- School Attendance and Discipline
- 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/americaschildrenenvironment/publications
2. California Environmental Health Tracking Program. (2015). Costs of environmental health conditions in California children. Public Health Institute. Retrieved from: https://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/EHIB/CPE/Pages/CaliforniaBreathingData.aspx
- 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 8,460 hospitalizations for asthma among children 0-17 statewide in 2017, a rate of 9.2 hospitalizations per 10,000 children. Among counties with data, childhood asthma hospitalization rates ranged from 4.4 per 10,000 (Santa Barbara) to 16 per 10,000 (Fresno). Statewide, rates of asthma hospitalization are higher for children ages 0-4 (16.6 per 10,000 in 2017) than for older children ages 5-17 (6.5 per 10,000 in 2017).
- 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/EHIB/CPE/Pages/CaliforniaBreathingData.aspx
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: https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/pediatrics/131/3/407
- Websites with Related Information
- Asthma in Children and Adolescents: Professional Resource Guide. Maternal and Child Health Digital Library.
- California Air Resources Board: Asthma and Air Pollution
- California Breathing. California Dept. of Public Health, Environmental Health Investigations Branch.
- 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.
- Tracking California: Asthma
- Key Reports and Research
- Association of Improved Air Quality with Lung Development in Children. (2015). New England Journal of Medicine. Gauderman, W. J., et al.
- 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.
- Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Asthma Outcomes Among African-American and Latino Children with Asthma. (2018). Thorax. Neophytou, A. M., et al.
- 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 Improvement Plan for Los Angeles County 2015-2020. Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Health.
- Key Indicators of Health by Service Planning Area. (2017). Los Angeles County Dept. of Public Health.
- San Mateo County All Together Better. San Mateo County Health.
- More Data Sources For Asthma
- America’s Children and the Environment. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
- 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 Health and Human Services Open Data Portal. California Health and Human Services Agency.
- California Health Interview Survey. UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
- Health, United States, 2018 – Data Finder. National Center for Health Statistics.
- National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Tracking California: Asthma Data Query
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