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A Survey of Asthma Prevalence Among School Age Children

Full text of report
Summary of Findings
Recommendations

The Survey
Press Release

Resulting Legislation

Public Act No. 01-4 Asthma Tracking

Introduction

Asthma, a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways, currently afflicts an estimated 15 million people in the United States, 5 million of whom are under the age of 18 years.1 Indeed, asthma is the most common chronic disorder of school-age children and youth. It is also one of the leading causes of school absences among students in our nation: on average, children with asthma have more than three times the school absences of children without asthma.

The prevalence of asthma in the United States continues to rise. While the percentage of individuals of all ages with asthma increased 75% between 1980 and 1994, in the same period the percentage of children under 5 years with asthma increased an estimated 160%.3 Each year, the disease is estimated to cost the U.S. economy $11 billion in health care costs and lost productivity.4 Despite the increasing impact of asthma, we do not fully understand what causes it. Furthermore, the majority of states, including Connecticut, do not have valid data to determine the prevalence of asthma by age, location or other critical variables related to causes, triggers, and prevention strategies. Without sufficient data, it is not possible to determine the real burden of this disease on the state, its health care system and its citizens.

This study targets the prevalence of asthma among Connecticut school-age children. It was undertaken by Environment and Human Health, Inc. (EHHI) in recognition that the first step to preventing and controlling asthma requires accurate, statewide prevalence data. Findings of the study illuminate directions for further investigation and support the need for an ongoing state surveillance system.

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