JOURNAL ARTICLE

Status of childhood asthma in the United States, 1980-2007

Lara J Akinbami, Jeanne E Moorman, Paul L Garbe, Edward J Sondik
Pediatrics 2009, 123 Suppl 3: S131-45
19221156
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data were used to describe 1980-2007 trends among children 0 to 17 years of age and recent patterns according to gender, race, and age. Asthma period prevalence increased by 4.6% per year from 1980 to 1996. New measures introduced in 1997 show a plateau at historically high levels; 9.1% of US children (6.7 million) currently had asthma in 2007. Ambulatory care visit rates fluctuated during the 1990 s, whereas emergency department visits and hospitalization rates decreased slightly. Asthma-related death rates increased through the middle 1990 s but decreased after 1999. Recent data showed higher prevalence among older children (11-17 years), but the highest rates of asthma-related health care use were among the youngest children (0-4 years). After controlling for racial differences in prevalence, disparities in adverse outcomes remained; among children with asthma, non-Hispanic black children had greater risks for emergency department visits and death, compared with non-Hispanic white children. For hospitalizations, for which Hispanic ethnicity data were not available, black children had greater risk than white children. However, nonemergency ambulatory care use was lower for non-Hispanic black children. Although the large increases in childhood asthma prevalence have abated, the burden remains large. Potentially avoidable adverse outcomes and racial disparities continue to present challenges. These findings suggest the need for sustained asthma prevention and control efforts for children.

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