Childhood asthma prevalence has reduced in the United States according to a new report issued by CDC. Between 2001 and 2009, the rate of asthma among children in the United States was rising. The CDC survey found that childhood asthma rate remained at the same level for next four years. Year 2013 onwards, a decline has been witnessed.
Lead author of the current survey, Lara Akinbami, MD, a medical officer at the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) informed that decline in childhood asthma has been noticed across the country. However, children belonging to poor families are not ranking that well in the latest study.
Among non-Hispanic white, the rate remained the same. The prevalence was still remaining high among Puerto Rican children.
Akinbami added, “Previously, asthma prevalence was increasing among black children, but not white children. In 2001, the asthma rate was 30 percent higher among black children than white children, and by 2011 it was 100 percent higher. The increase in disparity seems to be stopping.”
Higher rate of asthma among poorer communities could be due to continuous exposure to environmental factors.
Dr. Cary Sennett, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America CEO and President, said, “It was very troubling that whatever gains we are seeing are not evident in those populations that are struggling the most: the poor and near poor, as well as many minority populations.”
For the study, researchers used data from the 2001 to 2013 National Health Interview Survey to analyze the prevalence of asthma in children from birth to the age of 17.
"We found that not all groups of children had the same trends," Akinbami said.
Among children who are living in families with income below the poverty level and those aged 10 to 17, researchers found that asthma rates increased between 2001 and 2013.
"Trends increased and then leveled out among children aged 5 to 9 years and children living just above the poverty level," Akinbami added.
Black children were disproportionately at risk for poor asthma outcomes because they were more likely to have asthma, she said. In 2001, the asthma rate was 30 percent higher among black children than white children. But by 2011, it was over 100 percent higher. This increase in disparity now seems to be stopping, Akinbami said.
"The not so good news is that asthma prevalence still seems to be increasing among children living in poverty," she said.
These statistics can't pinpoint the reasons why changes in asthma rates are happening, Akinbami said.