Overall childhood ‘asthma epidemic’ levels off in U.S.

Overall childhood ‘asthma epidemic’ levels off in U.S.

The overall ‘asthma epidemic’ among children has stopped growing in the United States but the poorest children or kids aged 10 and older are still at a significant risk, a fresh analysis of National Health Interview Survey data revealed.

Overall, prevalence of asthma among children under 18 years of age kept increasing for decades, until it peaked at 9.7 per cent in 2009. From 2007 to 2013, the epidemic remained almost steady. In 2013, it dropped to 8.3 per cent, from 9.3 per cent in the previous year.

The study also revealed variations in asthma rates based on age, region, income, race and ethnicity. No change in asthma prevalence was recorded for white or Puerto Rican children or kids living in the Northeast or West from 2001 to 2013.

But asthma prevalence for children aged 10 to 17, poor kids and residents of the South increased over the same period. Disparities in asthma prevalence between white and black kids stopped growing, but Puerto Rican children remained at the highest risk.

Dr. Avni Joshi of Rochester, Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic, said, “There is a vicious cycle of poverty and obesity which may also contribute to the risk of development and persistence of asthma. In addition, children in poor households experience higher psychosocial stress, which is another risk factor for asthma.”

The fresh study was detailed in the December 28th online edition of the journal Pediatrics -- an international peer-reviewed medical journal that advances research covering all aspects of pediatrics.

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