CDC Reports Asthma Prevalence Remains at Historic High

WASHINGTON, DC—Although an increase in the prevalence of asthma has slowed since the mid-1990s, it still remains at historically high levels, a CDC report released this year found.

In 2009, nearly 8.2% of Americans surveyed had asthma, an increase of 0.4% over 2008. Overall, females had a higher asthma prevalence than males, although among children, boys had a higher prevalence (11.3%) than girls (7.9%). Children had higher asthma prevalence than adults.

Compared with Caucasians, the asthma prevalence is higher among African Americans and lower among Asians.

The report found that there is no difference in prevalence rates between residents of metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas, but when examined by geographic region, prevalence is higher in the Northeast than in the West and South and in the Midwest compared with the South.

Asthma contributes to school and work absences. The report noted that in 2008, a total of 10.5 million school days were missed in the previous year by children suffering at least one asthma attack. Adults who had at least one asthma attack in the past 12 months reported missing 14.2 million workdays, and nearly 34% missed at least one work day due to asthma in the previous year.

The report found that in 2007 there were 1.75 million asthma-related emergency department visits and 456,000 asthma hospitalizations. Asthma emergency visit and hospitalization rates were higher among females than males, among children than adults, and among black than white persons.

The large asthma burden and continued adverse outcomes “present an ongoing public health challenge, including the effort to enhance uptake of underutilized management strategies to control symptoms,” according to the report.

Estimates for asthma prevalence were based on data from the National Health Interview Survey. The report, Asthma Prevalence, Health Care Use, and Mortality: United States, 2005-2009, was published in the Jan 12th National Health Statistics Reports.

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