By Cary Sennett, MD, PhD
AAFA’s president and CEO, Dr. Cary Sennett, wrote these comments in response to a study published this week in the Journal Pediatrics.
A study released this week (December 28th) by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that there is good news: after years of increase, the prevalence of asthma in children appears to be falling. Why that is so—and whether this is the beginning of a trend, or an anomaly—remains to be seen, but it is both an intriguing and an encouraging finding.
But the data are not all good. While the prevalence of asthma may be—MAY BE—declining, there are still more than 6 million children in America whose lives are limited by a condition for which there is no cure. And it is very troubling that whatever gains we are seeing are not evident in those populations who are struggling most: the poor and near poor, as well as many minority populations.
So what these data say to me, and to those of us at the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, is that there is a need for further investment in programs that can improve outcomes for America’s most vulnerable children with asthma. While we do not know how to prevent asthma, we do know how to help people live with it. Attention to the environment—air quality, dust, mold, and other triggers; appropriate and timely medical care; and education of and support to families of children with asthma can and have made a huge difference.
AAFA remains committed to working on these issues, and to collaborating with others to solve them. Our website—www.aafa.org—remains a trusted source for information and support to families with asthma. In addition, we are working specifically to further address the problem of asthma in underserved populations with generous support from the CDC. We hope that—in the near future—data will show not only declines in the prevalence of asthma, but that those with asthma are leading lives that are not limited by their health conditions.