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1.  A children’s asthma education program: Roaring Adventures of Puff (RAP), improves quality of life 
It is postulated that children with asthma who receive an interactive, comprehensive education program would improve their quality of life, asthma management and asthma control compared with children receiving usual care.
To assess the feasibility and impact of ‘Roaring Adventures of Puff’ (RAP), a six-week childhood asthma education program administered by health professionals in schools.
Thirty-four schools from three health regions in Alberta were randomly assigned to receive either the RAP asthma program (intervention group) or usual care (control group). Baseline measurements from parent and child were taken before the intervention, and at six and 12 months.
The intervention group had more smoke exposure at baseline. Participants lost to follow-up had more asthma symptoms. Improvements were significantly greater in the RAP intervention group from baseline to six months than in the control group in terms of parent’s perceived understanding and ability to cope with and control asthma, and overall quality of life (P<0.05). On follow-up, doctor visits were reduced in the control group.
A multilevel, comprehensive, school-based asthma program is feasible, and modestly improved asthma management and quality of life outcomes. An interactive group education program offered to children with asthma at their school has merit as a practical, cost-effective, peer-supportive approach to improve health outcomes.
PMCID: PMC2866218  PMID: 20422062
Asthma education; Childhood asthma; Program evaluation; Quality of life; School-based program
2.  Asthma education program for First Nations children: An exemplar of the Knowledge-to-Action Framework 
The prevalence of asthma in Aboriginal children is 6% to 14%. Gaps in knowledge regarding asthma and its management exist in First Nations (FN) communities, and culturally relevant education and resources are required. Studies have recommended that the children’s asthma education program, the ‘Roaring Adventures of Puff’, be modified through partnership with FN communities to be culturally appropriate.
To adapt this knowledge tool and design an effective implementation process for FN knowledge users (children with asthma and care providers), guided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research knowledge translation framework.
The problem was identified, knowledge was identified/reviewed/selected (literature review); knowledge was adapted to the local context (FN working and advisory groups); barriers to knowledge use were assessed (by knowledge users); and interventions were selected, tailored and implemented (modified curricula and the creation of a new activity book and web-based resources, and regional coordinators, asthma educator mentors and community teams were recruited).
Major outcomes were the adapted tools and blueprints for tailoring implementation. Additional outcomes were preliminary observations and outputs from the iterative processes, including information about local context and barriers. Specific additions were roles for community members supported by asthma educators (applying FN teaching models and addressing health care demands); relevant triggers (addressing knowledge gaps); and FN images and stories, themes of circle, sacred teachings, nature and family/elders (culture and addressing low reading levels).
The framework model provides a logical, valuable tool for adapting a knowledge tool and implementation process to new knowledge users. Future research should measure uptake, effect on health outcomes of FN asthma sufferers and sustainability.
PMCID: PMC3956341  PMID: 23936889
Asthma; Children; Culturally relevant; First Nations; Health education; Knowledge translation
3.  Do School-Based Asthma Education Programs Improve Self-Management and Health Outcomes? 
Pediatrics  2009;124(2):729-742.
Asthma self-management education is critical for high-quality asthma care for children. A number of studies have assessed the effectiveness of providing asthma education in schools to augment education provided by primary care providers.
To conduct a systematic review of the literature on school-based asthma education programs.
As our data sources, we used 3 databases that index peer-reviewed literature: MEDLINE, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature. Inclusion criteria included publication in English and enrollment of children aged 4 to 17 years with a clinical diagnosis of asthma or symptoms consistent with asthma.
Twenty-five articles met the inclusion criteria. Synthesizing findings across studies was difficult because the characteristics of interventions and target populations varied widely, as did the outcomes assessed. In addition, some studies had major methodologic weaknesses. Most studies that compared asthma education to usual care found that school-based asthma education improved knowledge of asthma (7 of 10 studies), self-efficacy (6 of 8 studies), and self-management behaviors (7 of 8 studies). Fewer studies reported favorable effects on quality of life (4 of 8 studies), days of symptoms (5 of 11 studies), nights with symptoms (2 of 4 studies), and school absences (5 of 17 studies).
Although findings regarding effects of school-based asthma education programs on quality of life, school absences, and days and nights with symptoms were not consistent, our analyses suggest that school-based asthma education improves knowledge of asthma, self-efficacy, and self-management behaviors.
PMCID: PMC2875148  PMID: 19651589
asthma; children; schools; patient education; systematic review
4.  Factors that Influence Quality of Life in Rural Children with Asthma and their Parents 
Among rural children with asthma and their parents, this study examined the relationship between parental and child reports of quality of life and described the relationship of several factors such as asthma severity, missed days of work and asthma education on their quality of life.
Two hundred and one rural families with asthma were enrolled in a school-based educational program. Intervention parents and children received interactive asthma workshop(s), asthma devices and literature. Parent and child quality of life measurements were obtained pre and post intervention using Juniper's Paediatric Caregivers Quality of Life and Juniper's Paediatric Quality of Life Questionnaires. Asthma severity was measured using criteria from the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) guidelines.
There was no association between parent and child total quality of life scores, and mean parental total quality of life scores were higher at baseline and follow-up than those of the children. All the parents' quality of life scores were correlated with parental reports of missed days of work. For all children, emotional quality of life (EQOL) was significantly associated with parental reports of school days missed (p= .03) and marginally associated with parental reports of hospitalizations due to asthma (p=.0.08). Parent's emotional quality of life (EQOL) and activity quality of life (AQOL) were significantly associated with children's asthma severity (EQOL, p=.009, AQOL, p=0.03), but not the asthma educational intervention. None of the child quality of life measurements were associated with asthma severity.
Asthma interventions for rural families should help families focus on gaining and maintaining low asthma severity levels in order for families to enjoy an optimal quality of life. Health care providers should try to assess the child's quality of life at each asthma care visit independently of the parents.
PMCID: PMC2592842  PMID: 18971080
5.  Evaluation of a web-based asthma management intervention program for urban teenagers: Reaching the hard to reach 
Asthma interventions targeting urban adolescents are rare, despite a great need. Motivating adolescents to achieve better self-management of asthma is challenging, and the literature suggests that certain subgroups are more resistant than others. We conducted a school-based, randomized controlled trial to evaluate Puff City, a web-based, tailored asthma intervention, which included a referral coordinator, and incorporated theory-based strategies to target urban teens with characteristics previously found to be associated with lack of behavior change.
To identify eligible teens, questionnaires on asthma diagnoses and symptoms were administered to 9–12th graders of participating schools during a scheduled English class. Eligible, consenting students were randomized to Puff City (treatment) or generic asthma education (control).
422 students were randomized (98% African-American, mean age=15.6 years). At 12 month follow-up, adjusted Odds Ratios (95% Confidence Intervals) indicated intervention benefit for treatment teens for symptom-days and restricted activity days (analyzed as categorical variables) aOR=0.49 (0.24–0.79), p=0.006 and 0.53 (0.32–0.86), p=0.010, respectively. Among teens meeting baseline criteria for rebelliousness, treatment teens reported fewer symptom-days, symptom-nights, school absences and restricted activity days, aOR=0.30 (0.11–0.80), 0.29 (0.14–0.64), 0.40 (0.20–0.78), and 0.23 (0.10–0.55); all p<0.05. Among teens reporting low perceived emotional support, treatment students reported only fewer symptom-days than controls, aOR=0.23 (0.06 – 0.88), p=0.031. Statistically significant differences in medical care use were not observed.
Results suggest a theory-based, tailored approach, with a referral coordinator, can improve asthma management in urban teens. Puff City represents a viable strategy for disseminating an effective intervention to high risk and hard-to-reach populations.
PMCID: PMC3632347  PMID: 23299008
6.  Pediatric asthma self-management: current concepts. 
The concept of asthma self-management began in asthma camps in the 1970s. Today all asthma camps are required to provide an educational asthma self-management program. The interaction between children and educators is brief, and if the children do not continue in an associated program after camp, the benefits may be lost. Open Airways, the first program developed specifically for minority children, has been the prototype for community asthma self-management. School-based intervention programs have incorporated asthma education into the health curriculum. Some asthma education programs include an emphasis on the environment. Another approach is to develop intervention projects with parents, as in the Head Start program. This program has been very effective in increasing early recognition of asthma and decreasing recidivism in a high-risk population. Another type of project addressed the reading ability and reading comprehension of asthmatic children. Improvement in reading skills resulted in a 47% decrease in asthma recidivism. After 18 months, there were only two hospitalizations among the enrolled participants. Asthma self-management programs that are most effective for inner-city children provide an interactive, culturally relevant form of asthma education and address issues such as literacy and continuity.
PMCID: PMC2608481  PMID: 12653391
7.  Outcomes for a Comprehensive School-Based Asthma Management Program 
The Journal of school health  2006;76(6):291-296.
This article describes the evaluation of a comprehensive school-based asthma management program in an inner-city, largely African-American school system. All 54 elementary schools (combined enrollment 13,247 students) from a single urban school system participated in this study. Schools were randomly divided between immediate and delayed intervention programs. The intervention consisted of 3 separate educational programs (for school faculty/staff, students with asthma, and peers without asthma) and medical management for the children with asthma (including an Individual Asthma Action Plan, medications, and peakflow meters). Children with asthma were identified using a case detection program and 736 were enrolled into the intervention study. No significant differences were observed in school absences, grade point average, emergency room visits, or hospitalizations between the immediate and delayed intervention groups. Significant increases in knowledge were observed in the immediate intervention group. This study of a school-based asthma management education and medical intervention program did not show any differences between the intervention and control groups on morbidity outcomes. Our experience leads us to believe that such measures are difficult to impact and are not always reliable. Future researchers should be aware of the problems associated with using such measures. In addition, connecting children with a regular source of health care in this population was difficult. More intensive methods of medical management, such as school-based health centers or supervised asthma therapy, might prove more effective in inner-city schools.
PMCID: PMC1594815  PMID: 16918857
8.  Management of Pornography-seeking in an Online Dermatology Atlas: Adventures in the Skin Trade1 
The escalating competition between online pornography - seeking and disseminating behaviors and technologies that attempt to reduce them creates technical, semantic and legal barriers to the legitimate discussion of and education about sensitive health issues involving sexuality, anatomy and pathology, especially when image-based knowledge is used. The effects of this competition on the use and management of an online dermatology atlas are described with a discussion on the importance of anticipating, addressing and controlling this problem while developing and maintaining image-based digital libraries and other e-Health applications.
PMCID: PMC1560843  PMID: 16779077
9.  Uncontrolled asthma: assessing quality of life and productivity of children and their caregivers using a cross-sectional Internet-based survey 
Results of a national survey of asthmatic children that evaluated management goals established in 2004 by the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) indicated that asthma symptom control fell short on nearly every goal.
An Internet-based survey was administered to adult caregivers of children aged 6-12 years with moderate to severe asthma. Asthma was categorized as uncontrolled when the caregiver reported pre-specified criteria for daytime symptoms, nighttime awakening, activity limitation, or rescue medication based on the NAEPP guidelines. Children's health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and caregivers' quality of life (QOL) were assessed using the Child Health Questionnaire Parent Form 28 (CHQ-PF28) and caregiver's work productivity using a modified Work Productivity and Activity Impairment Questionnaire. Children with uncontrolled vs. controlled asthma were compared.
360 caregivers of children with uncontrolled asthma and 113 of children with controlled asthma completed the survey. Children with uncontrolled asthma had significantly lower CHQ-PF28 physical (mean 38.1 vs 49.8, uncontrolled vs controlled, respectively) and psychosocial (48.2 vs 53.8) summary measure scores. They were more likely to miss school (5.5 vs 2.2 days), arrive late or leave early (26.7 vs 7.1%), miss school-related activities (40.6 vs 6.2%), use a rescue inhaler at school (64.2 vs 31.0%), and visit the health office or school nurse (22.5 vs 8.8%). Caregivers of children with uncontrolled asthma reported significantly greater work and activity impairment and lower QOL for emotional, time-related and family activities.
Poorly controlled asthma symptoms impair HRQOL of children, QOL of their caregivers, and productivity of both. Proper treatment and management to improve symptom control may reduce humanistic and economic burdens on asthmatic children and their caregivers.
PMCID: PMC2944345  PMID: 20825674
10.  The Effects of Combining Web-Based eHealth With Telephone Nurse Case Management for Pediatric Asthma Control: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
Asthma is the most common pediatric illness in the United States, burdening low-income and minority families disproportionately and contributing to high health care costs. Clinic-based asthma education and telephone case management have had mixed results on asthma control, as have eHealth programs and online games.
To test the effects of (1) CHESS+CM, a system for parents and children ages 4–12 years with poorly controlled asthma, on asthma control and medication adherence, and (2) competence, self-efficacy, and social support as mediators. CHESS+CM included a fully automated eHealth component (Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System [CHESS]) plus monthly nurse case management (CM) via phone. CHESS, based on self-determination theory, was designed to improve competence, social support, and intrinsic motivation of parents and children.
We identified eligible parent–child dyads from files of managed care organizations in Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, sent them recruitment letters, and randomly assigned them (unblinded) to a control group of treatment as usual plus asthma information or to CHESS+CM. Asthma control was measured by the Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ) and self-reported symptom-free days. Medication adherence was a composite of pharmacy refill data and medication taking. Social support, information competence, and self-efficacy were self-assessed in questionnaires. All data were collected at 0, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. Asthma diaries kept during a 3-week run-in period before randomization provided baseline data.
Of 305 parent–child dyads enrolled, 301 were randomly assigned, 153 to the control group and 148 to CHESS+CM. Most parents were female (283/301, 94%), African American (150/301, 49.8%), and had a low income as indicated by child’s Medicaid status (154/301, 51.2%); 146 (48.5%) were single and 96 of 301 (31.9%) had a high school education or less. Completion rates were 127 of 153 control group dyads (83.0%) and 132 of 148 CHESS+CM group dyads (89.2%). CHESS+CM group children had significantly better asthma control on the ACQ (d = –0.31, 95% confidence limits [CL] –0.56, –0.06, P = .011), but not as measured by symptom-free days (d = 0.18, 95% CL –0.88, 1.60, P = 1.00). The composite adherence scores did not differ significantly between groups (d = 1.48%, 95% CL –8.15, 11.11, P = .76). Social support was a significant mediator for CHESS+CM’s effect on asthma control (alpha = .200, P = .01; beta = .210, P = .03). Self-efficacy was not significant (alpha = .080, P = .14; beta = .476, P = .01); neither was information competence (alpha = .079, P = .09; beta = .063, P = .64).
Integrating telephone case management with eHealth benefited pediatric asthma control, though not medication adherence. Improved methods of measuring medication adherence are needed. Social support appears to be more effective than information in improving pediatric asthma control.
Trial Registration NCT00214383; (Archived by WebCite at
PMCID: PMC3409549  PMID: 22835804
Asthma; asthma information; childhood disease; case management; patient education; eHealth; social support
11.  Oral-steroid sparing effect of inhaled fluticasone propionate in children with steroid-dependent asthma 
Paediatrics & Child Health  2000;5(3):156-160.
To evaluate the oral steroid-sparing effect of inhaled fluticasone propionate (FP) in eight children with steroid-dependent asthma.
Treatment protocol study at a tertiary pulmonary care centre at a children’s hospital.
Eight children with severe persistent steroid dependent asthma (mean age 11.6 years [range 10 to 13 years], mean duration of asthma 8.37 years [range three to 11 years]) were enrolled in the study.
Inhaled FP 880 μg/day (two puffs of 220 μg/puff, two times a day) was added to the children’s asthma treatment, and attempts were made to reduce the dose of oral steroids by 20% every two weeks over a six-month period. After this six-month period, in the patients responding to inhaled FP, the dose of inhaled FP was reduced to 440 μg/day (two puffs of 110 μg/puff, two times a day) for the next six months. The mean percentage predicted values for forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) and maximal mid-expiratory flow rate (FEF25%–75%) were compared during the first month, at two to six months, and at seven to 12 month intervals before and after starting FP. The number of asthma exacerbations, emergency room visits, hospital admissions and number of school days lost were also compared.
Within three months of starting inhaled FP, the mean alternate-day oral steroid dose decreased from 38 mg to 2.5 mg. In addition, six patients (66%) were able to discontinue the use of oral steroids. There was significant improvement in the number of mean emergency room visits per patient (P=0.016), mean asthma exacerbations per patient (P=0.016), mean hospital admissions per patient (P=0.016) and mean number of school days lost per patient (P=0.004) while patients were receiving high dose inhaled FP compared with oral steroids. There was no deterioration of any of the above mentioned parameters during the six month period when the dose of inhaled FP was reduced. The mean FEV1 and FEF25%–75% during the two- to six-month and seven- to 12-month periods showed significant improvement, while the patients were receiving FP compared with oral steroids (P<0.05 for both parameters for both time periods).
High dose inhaled FP 880 μg/day has an important oral steroid-sparing effect. After oral steroids are tapered, patients maintain adequate control of asthma with low dose inhaled FP. These findings suggest that FP may control asthma better than oral steroids.
PMCID: PMC2817773  PMID: 20177514
Asthma; Fluticasone propionate; Steroid
12.  Impact of a Computer-assisted Education Program on Factors Related to Asthma Self-management Behavior 
Objective: To evaluate Watch, Discover, Think and Act (WDTA), a theory-based application of CD-ROM educational technology for pediatric asthma self-management education.
Design: A prospective pretest posttest randomized intervention trial was used to assess the motivational appeal of the computer-assisted instructional program and evaluate the impact of the program in eliciting change in knowledge, self-efficacy, and attributions of children with asthma. Subjects were recruited from large urban asthma clinics, community clinics, and schools. Seventy-six children 9 to 13 years old were recruited for the evaluation.
Results: Repeated-measures analysis of covariance showed that knowledge scores increased significantly for both groups, but no between-group differences were found (P = 0.55); children using the program scored significantly higher (P < 0.01) on questions about steps of self-regulation, prevention strategies, and treatment strategies. These children also demonstrated greater selfefficacy (P < 0.05) and more efficacy building attribution classification of asthma self-management behaviors (P < 0.05) than those children who did not use the program.
Conclusion: The WDTA is an intrinsically motivating educational program that has the ability to effect determinants of asthma self-management behavior in 9- to 13-year-old children with asthma. This, coupled with its reported effectiveness in enhancing patient outcomes in clinical settings, indicates that this program has application in pediatric asthma education.
PMCID: PMC134591  PMID: 11141512
13.  Asthma-Related School Absenteeism and School Concentration of Low-Income Students in California 
Asthma is one of the leading causes of school absenteeism. Previous studies have shown that school absenteeism is related to family income of individual students. However, there is little research examining whether school absenteeism is related to school-level concentration of low-income students, independent of family income. The objective of this study was to examine whether the proportion of low-income students at a school was related to school absenteeism due to asthma.
Using data from the 2007 California Health Interview Survey, a population-based survey of California households, we examined the association between attending schools with high concentrations of low-income students and missing school because of asthma, adjusting for demographic characteristics, asthma severity, and health insurance status. Schools with high concentrations of low-income students were identified on the basis of the percentage of students participating in the free and reduced-price meal program, data publicly available from the California Department of Education.
Students attending schools with the highest concentrations of low-income students were more likely to miss school because of asthma. Students from low-income families, younger students, those with more frequent asthma symptoms, or those taking prescription asthma medications also were more likely to miss school because of asthma.
The use of school-level interventions to decrease school absenteeism due to asthma should be explored, especially in schools with high concentrations of low-income students. Potential interventions could include school-based asthma education and disease management or indoor and outdoor air pollution control.
PMCID: PMC3431954  PMID: 22595322
14.  Eastern Carolina Asthma Prevention Program (ECAPP): An Environmental Intervention Study Among Rural and Underserved Children with Asthma in Eastern North Carolina 
Asthma is the most common chronic childhood condition affecting 6.3 million (US) children aged less than 18 years. Home-based, multi-component, environmental intervention studies among children with asthma have demonstrated to be effective in reducing asthma symptoms. In this study, a local hospital and university developed an environmental intervention research pilot project, Eastern Carolina Asthma Prevention Program (ECAPP), to evaluate self-reported asthma symptoms, breathing measurements, and number of asthma-related emergency department (ED) visits among low-income, minority children with asthma living in rural, eastern North Carolina. Our goal was to develop a conceptual model and demonstrate any asthma respiratory improvements in children associated with our home-based, environmental intervention.
This project used a single cohort, intervention design approach to compare self-reported asthma-related symptoms, breathing tests, and ED visits over a 6 month period between children with asthma in an intervention study group (n = 12) and children with asthma in a control study group (n = 7). The intervention study group received intense asthma education, three home visits, 2 week follow-up telephone calls, and environmental intervention products for reducing asthma triggers in the home. The control group received education at baseline and 2 week calls, but no intervention products.
At the end of the study period, significant improvements were observed in the intervention group compared with the control group. Overall, the intervention group experienced a 58% (46 ± SD 26.9) reduction in self-reported asthma symptoms; 76% (34 ± SD 29.7) decrease in rescue medicine; 12% (145 ± SD 11.3) increase in controller medicine; 37% decrease in mean exhaled nitric oxide levels and 33% fewer ED asthma-related visits.
As demonstrated, a combination of efforts appeared effective for improving asthma respiratory symptoms among children in the intervention group. ECAPP is a low cost pilot project that could readily be adapted and expanded into other communities throughout eastern North Carolina. Future efforts could include enhanced partnerships between environmental health professionals at local health departments and pediatric asthma programs at hospitals to carry out ECAPP.
PMCID: PMC4077872  PMID: 25057240
exhaled nitric oxide; environmental health; airway inflammation
15.  Can morbidity associated with untreated asthma in primary school children be reduced?: a controlled intervention study. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1991;303(6811):1169-1174.
OBJECTIVE--To determine whether an intervention programme based on existing school and community resources can reduce school absence and improve participation in games lessons and sport in children with unrecognised or undertreated asthma. DESIGN--Parallel group controlled intervention study. SETTING--102 primary schools in Nottingham: 49 were randomised to receive the intervention and 53 to be control schools. SUBJECTS--All children aged 5 to 10 years with parent reported absence from school because of wheezing in the previous year and taking no treatment or beta agonists only. INTERVENTIONS--Children with asthma were referred to their general practitioner for assessment of symptoms and treatment. Teachers were given education on asthma by the school nurse in 44 of the 49 intervention schools. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Changes in school absence and missed games and swimming lessons because of wheezing, and schools' policy towards management of asthma in school. RESULTS--Of 17,432 children screened, 451 met the entry criteria--228 in intervention schools and 223 in control schools. 152 (67%) children in intervention schools visited their general practitioner, of whom 39 (26%) were given a new diagnosis of asthma and 58 (38%) had treatment for asthma increased or changed. Over the next academic year mean (SE) parent reported school absence due to wheezing fell significantly, but to a similar extent, in both intervention and control schools (0.82 (0.11) and 1.09 (0.21) weeks respectively). There was little change in school recorded absence or participation in games lessons and swimming lessons in either group. At the end of the study intervention schools were more likely to have improved aspects of management of asthma in school. CONCLUSION--The intervention resulted in a majority of children being assessed by their general practitioner and improved teachers' understanding and management of asthma, but it did not result in any appreciable reduction in morbidity.
PMCID: PMC1671468  PMID: 1747614
16.  A randomized field trial of acindes: A child-centered training model for children with chronic illnesses (asthma and epilepsy) 
A randomized field trial of a child-centered model of training for self-management of chronic illnesses was conducted of 355 Spanish-speaking school-aged children, between 6 and 15 years old, with moderate to severe asthma and epilepsy, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The model, based on play techniques, consists of five weekly meetings of 8–10 families, with children's and parents' groups held simultaneously, coordinated by specially trained teachers and outside the hospital environment. Children are trained to assume a leading role in the management of their health; parents learn to be facilitators; and physicians provide guidance, acting as counselors. Group activities include games, drawings, stories, videos, and role-playing. Children and parents were interviewed at home before the program and 6 and 12 months after the program, and medical and school records were monitored for emergency and routine visits, hospitalizations, and school absenteeism. In asthma and epilepsy, children in the experiment showed significant improvements in knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors compared to controls (probability of experimental gain over controls=.69 for epilepsy and .56 for asthma, with σ2= .007 and .016, respectively). Parent participants in the experiment had improved knowledge of asthma (39% before vs. 58% after) and epilepsy (22% before vs. 56% after), with a probability of gain=.62 (σ2=.0026) with respect to the control group. Similar positive outcomes were found in fears of child death (experimental 39% before vs. 4% after for asthma, 69% before vs. 30% after for epilepsy), as well as in disruption of family life and patient-physician relationship, while controls showed no change. Regarding clinical variables, for both asthma and epilepsy, children in the experimental group had significantly fewer crises than the controls after the groups (P=.036 andP=.026). Visits to physicians showed a significant decrease for those with asthma (P=.048), and emergency visits decreased for those with epilepsy (P=.046).
An 18-item Children Health Locus of Control Scale (CHLCS) showed a significant increase in internality in experimental group children with asthma and epilepsy (P<.01), while controls did not change or performed worse 12 months after the program. School absenteeism was reduced significantly for those with asthma and epilepsy (for the group with asthma, fall/winterP=.006, and springP=.029; for the group with epilepsy,P=.011).
The program was successful in improving the health, activity, and quality of life of children with asthma and epilepsy. The data suggested that an autonomous (Piagetian) model of training is a key to this success, reinforcing children's autonomous decision making.
PMCID: PMC3456130  PMID: 10856009
Asthma; Children; Chronic illnesses; Diabetes; Self-help; Training
17.  Components of recommended asthma care and the use of long-term control medication among urban children with asthma 
Medical care  2009;47(9):940-947.
Previous research has documented an underuse of long-term control medications among children with asthma, in non-adherence with national guidelines on asthma care.
To determine if factors related to access and quality of asthma care are associated with underuse of long-term control medication among children with asthma.
Research Design
A parent-report cross-sectional survey conducted in 26 randomly selected New York City public elementary schools
5,250 children, of whom 912 had asthma
Twenty-nine percent of children with asthma reported using a long-term control medication. Among children with persistent asthma, defined as having one or more sleep disturbances due to asthma per week, 59.0% reported using a long-term control medication. After adjusting for demographic factors, children who had an asthma plan, had visited a doctor in the previous 6 months for non-urgent asthma care, or were enrolled in an asthma education program were more likely to use long-term control medication (Odds Ratios:6.00, 4.11, 2.88, respectively). Children of Spanish-speaking parents, African-American children, and children with no health insurance were the least likely to use long-term control medication (Odds Ratios: 0.51, 0.49, 0.20, respectively). Children who reported recommended components of asthma care were the most likely to use their medication with appropriate frequency.
Children who reported markers of high quality, personalized medical care, were more likely to use long-term control medication. These findings illustrate that components of the medical care received, and not only the demographic characteristics of the patient, are key factors in understanding the underuse of long-term control medication in urban children with asthma.
PMCID: PMC2732665  PMID: 19704351
18.  Computer-Assisted School-Based Asthma Management: A Pilot Study 
JMIR Research Protocols  2012;1(2):e15.
The high prevalence of asthma among children continues to be a major public health issue. In particular, low-income African-American and Hispanic children often receive asthma care in the emergency department and lack access to continuity of care.
The aim of the current study was to test the feasibility of implementing a computerized program for empowering low-income children with asthma to manage their own disease. This pilot program consisted of a guided, personalized, Web-based computer program as the main component of a school-based asthma intervention.
The Automated Live E-Health Response Tracking System (ALERTS), a computer-assisted, Web-based tracking program, was tested for implementation in a school in East Harlem, New York. The program required children with asthma, assisted by trained researchers, to routinely measure their peak flow meter readings and answer a symptom questionnaire. The program provided individualized feedback on their disease status based on peak flow meter input. The computer program sent reports to the child’s physician and the nurse practitioner at the on-site school health center. The children were also encouraged to bring the reports home to their parents. A pre/post study design was employed such that each participant acted as his/her own control. Comparisons of preintervention and postintervention outcomes were calculated using the paired t-test and the McNemar test for dichotomous data.
Twenty-four children (6 to 12 years) participated in the program over 2 to 15 months. Improvements in health outcomes showed the greatest significance among the group of participants who were enrolled for 8 months or longer. Statistically significant improvements were seen in the average physical health score of the children (from 65.64 preintervention to 76.28 postintervention, P = .045). There was a significant decrease in the number of participants experiencing wheezing episodes (n = 9 to n = 2, P = .03), and in the average number of wheezing episodes per child (1.86 to 0.43, P = .02). Although not statistically significant, decreases were also seen in the number of children experiencing an asthma attack and in the average number of asthma attacks among participants. There was also a significant decrease in the average number of visits to doctors’ offices or clinics (1.23 to 0.38, P = .04). There were no overnight hospitalizations in the two-week period following the end of the pilot program, a nonsignificant reduction from an average of 0.21 per child.
This individualized, computer-assisted intervention resulted in improvements in some health outcomes among low-income children in an urban, public school-based setting. Consistent peak flow meter self-measurements, management of medication usage, and a computerized approach to symptom tracking resulted in fewer asthma exacerbations and improved overall physical health among this pediatric population with asthma.
PMCID: PMC3626150  PMID: 23612058
Asthma; disease management; Internet; child; underserved; Asthma Action Plan; outcomes; urban; low-income
19.  Medication Use Patterns among Urban Youth Participating in School-Based Asthma Education 
Although pharmaceutical management is an integral part of asthma control, few community-based analyses have focused on this aspect of disease management. The primary goal of this analysis was to assess whether participation in the school-based Kickin’ Asthma program improved appropriate asthma medication use among middle school students. A secondary goal was to determine whether improvements in medication use were associated with subsequent improvements in asthma-related symptoms among participating students. Students completed an in-class case-identification questionnaire to determine asthma status. Eligible students were invited to enroll in a school-based asthma curriculum delivered over four sessions by an asthma health educator. Students completed a pre-survey and a 3-month follow-up post-survey that compared symptom frequency and medication use. From 2004 to 2007, 579 participating students completed pre- and post-surveys. Program participation resulted in improvements in appropriate use across all three medication use categories: 20.0% of students initiated appropriate reliever use when “feeling symptoms” (p < 0.001), 41.6% of students reporting inappropriate medication use “before exercise” initiated reliever use (p < 0.001), and 26.5% of students reporting inappropriate medication use when “feeling fine” initiated controller use (p < 0.02). More than half (61.6%) of participants reported fewer symptoms at post-survey. Symptom reduction was not positively associated with improvements in medication use in unadjusted and adjusted analysis, controlling for sex, asthma symptom classification, class attendance, season, and length of follow-up. Participation in a school-based asthma education program significantly improved reliever medication use for symptom relief and prior-to-exercise and controller medication use for maintenance. However, given that symptom reduction was not positively associated with improvement in medication use, pharmaceutical education must be just one part of a comprehensive asthma management agenda that addresses the multifactorial nature of asthma-related morbidity.
PMCID: PMC3042074  PMID: 21337054
Child and adolescent health; Chronic disease; Evaluation; Asthma; Medication use; Reliever; Controller; Exercise-induced
20.  Exercise-Induced Bronchospasm and Atopy in Ghana: Two Surveys Ten Years Apart 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(2):e70.
Asthma and allergic diseases have increased in the developed countries. It is important to determine whether the same trends are occurring in the developing countries in Africa. We aimed to determine the time trend in the prevalence of exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB) and atopic sensitisation over a ten-year period in Ghanaian schoolchildren.
Methods and Findings
Two surveys conducted using the same methodology ten years apart (1993 and 2003) among schoolchildren aged 9–16 years attending urban rich (UR), urban poor (UP), and rural (R) schools. Exercise provocation consisted of free running for six minutes. Children were skin tested to mite, cat, and dog allergen. 1,095 children were exercised in 1993 and 1,848 in 2003; 916 were skin tested in 1993 and 1,861 in 2003. The prevalence of EIB increased from 3.1% (95% CI 2.2%–4.3%) to 5.2% (4.3%–6.3%); absolute percentage increase 2.1% (95% CI 0.6%–3.5%, p < 0.01); among UR, UP, and R children EIB had approximately doubled from 4.2%, 1.4%, and 2.2% to 8.3%, 3.0% and 3.9% respectively. The prevalence of sensitisation had also doubled from 10.6%, 4.7%, and 4.4% to 20.2%, 10.3%, and 9.9% (UR, UP, and R respectively). Mite sensitisation remained unchanged (5.6% versus 6.4%), but sensitisation to cat and dog increased considerably from 0.7% and 0.3% to 4.6% and 3.1%, respectively. In the multiple logistic regression analysis, sensitisation (odds ratio [OR] 1.77, 95% CI 1.12–2.81), age (OR 0.88, 95% CI 0.79–0.98), school (the risk being was significantly lower in UP and R schools: OR 0.40, 95% CI 0.23–0.68 and OR 0.54, 95% CI 0.34–0.86, respectively) and year of the study (OR 1.73, 95% CI 1.13–2.66) remained significant and independent associates of EIB.
The prevalence of both EIB and sensitisation has approximately doubled over the ten-year period amongst 9- to 16-year-old Ghanaian children irrespective of location, with both EIB and atopy being more common among the UR than the UP and R children.
The prevalence of both exercise-induced bronchospasm and sensitisation has approximately doubled over the ten-year period amongst 9- to 16-year-old Ghanaian children
Editors' Summary
The proportion of children with asthma is thought to be increasing worldwide, and particularly among children that live in more developed countries. However, it is not clear why this is, since many different aspects of lifestyle and the environment have been linked with the onset of asthma. In Africa, asthma has typically been thought of as being very uncommon, and indeed in many African dialects there is no word for asthma or the symptoms, such as wheezing, that asthmatic children experience. However, some research studies have suggested that asthma might be becoming more common in Africa and that this could be linked to ongoing economic and social changes.
Why Was This Study Done?
The researchers here wanted to understand whether the trend for childhood asthma to be on the increase worldwide was also the case in Africa. Economic growth is bringing about rapid changes in lifestyle in many developing countries, and at the same time the burden of disease is changing. In order to make sure that health systems are appropriately resourced, it's important to anticipate future changes in the burden of different diseases.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
This study was based on a comparison between two surveys, carried out ten years apart, of children attending three schools in Ghana's second largest city, Kumasi. The surveys were done in 1993 and 2003, and the schools surveyed were a rich city school, a poor city school, and a school in the nearby countryside. The same methods were used in the two different surveys. Importantly, the researchers used an exercise test as an indicator for asthma, because language differences meant they could not find out whether children were indeed asthmatic. In the exercise test, the schoolchildren ran outdoors for six minutes, and the researchers measured how fast the children could breathe out before and after exercise (their “peak flow”). Children whose drop in peak flow was more than 12.5% were classified as having exercise-induced bronchospasm, which is thought to predict asthma. The children were also tested for their response to extracts that commonly cause allergic reactions, such as from dust mites and cat and dog hair. 1,095 children were studied in 1993 and 1,848 in 2003, paralleling the growth of the city, which also meant that by 2003 the rural school had become incorporated into the city. Over this period of time, the proportion of children with exercise-induced bronchospasm increased in all three schools; overall this proportion went up from 3.1% to 5.2%. Children from the rich city school were most likely to have exercise-induced bronchospasm at either survey date. However, children from the poor city school experienced the biggest change over the time period studied, with more than double the proportion of children having exercise-induced bronchospasm in 2003 as compared to 1993. The researchers also saw similar trends in children who had allergic reactions to common substances.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The researchers observed substantial increases in the rate of exercise-induced bronchospasm, and allergic reactions, between the two survey dates. This finding suggests that asthma is likely to have become much more common in that time. However, exercise-induced bronchospasm is not an exact indicator of asthma so it is not possible to be certain about this. These changes are likely to be linked with the adoption of westernized lifestyles, but which precise factors are responsible for the increase is not clear. Factors linked to the development of asthma include a lower rate of childhood infections, a lower rate of breast-feeding, environmental pollution, and many others. Links between the increase in exercise-induced bronchospasm and any of these factors were not examined in this study. However, these results suggest that if the findings here are common to other African cities as well, a greater proportion of African health budgets will need to be devoted to asthma care in the future.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Wikipedia has an entry on asthma (Wikipedia is an internet encyclopedia anyone can edit)
The World Health Organization's Ghana minisite has information on this country
Patient information from NHS Direct on asthma
An accompanying PLoS Medicine Essay by Matthias Wjst and Daniel Boakye discusses research on asthma in Africa
PMCID: PMC1808098  PMID: 17326711
21.  Effects of BMI, Fat Mass, and Lean Mass on Asthma in Childhood: A Mendelian Randomization Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(7):e1001669.
In this study, Granell and colleagues used Mendelian randomization to investigate causal effects of BMI, fat mass, and lean mass on current asthma at age 7½ years in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) and found that higher BMI increases the risk of asthma in mid-childhood.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Observational studies have reported associations between body mass index (BMI) and asthma, but confounding and reverse causality remain plausible explanations. We aim to investigate evidence for a causal effect of BMI on asthma using a Mendelian randomization approach.
Methods and Findings
We used Mendelian randomization to investigate causal effects of BMI, fat mass, and lean mass on current asthma at age 7½ y in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). A weighted allele score based on 32 independent BMI-related single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) was derived from external data, and associations with BMI, fat mass, lean mass, and asthma were estimated. We derived instrumental variable (IV) estimates of causal risk ratios (RRs). 4,835 children had available data on BMI-associated SNPs, asthma, and BMI. The weighted allele score was strongly associated with BMI, fat mass, and lean mass (all p-values<0.001) and with childhood asthma (RR 2.56, 95% CI 1.38–4.76 per unit score, p = 0.003). The estimated causal RR for the effect of BMI on asthma was 1.55 (95% CI 1.16–2.07) per kg/m2, p = 0.003. This effect appeared stronger for non-atopic (1.90, 95% CI 1.19–3.03) than for atopic asthma (1.37, 95% CI 0.89–2.11) though there was little evidence of heterogeneity (p = 0.31). The estimated causal RRs for the effects of fat mass and lean mass on asthma were 1.41 (95% CI 1.11–1.79) per 0.5 kg and 2.25 (95% CI 1.23–4.11) per kg, respectively. The possibility of genetic pleiotropy could not be discounted completely; however, additional IV analyses using FTO variant rs1558902 and the other BMI-related SNPs separately provided similar causal effects with wider confidence intervals. Loss of follow-up was unlikely to bias the estimated effects.
Higher BMI increases the risk of asthma in mid-childhood. Higher BMI may have contributed to the increase in asthma risk toward the end of the 20th century.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
The global burden of asthma, a chronic (long-term) condition caused by inflammation of the airways (the tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs), has been rising steadily over the past few decades. It is estimated that, nowadays, 200–300 million adults and children worldwide are affected by asthma. Although asthma can develop at any age, it is often diagnosed in childhood—asthma is the most common chronic disease in children. In people with asthma, the airways can react very strongly to allergens such as animal fur or to irritants such as cigarette smoke, becoming narrower so that less air can enter the lungs. Exercise, cold air, and infections can also trigger asthma attacks, which can be fatal. The symptoms of asthma include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Asthma cannot be cured, but drugs can relieve its symptoms and prevent acute asthma attacks.
Why Was This Study Done?
We cannot halt the ongoing rise in global asthma rates without understanding the causes of asthma. Some experts think obesity may be one cause of asthma. Obesity, like asthma, is increasingly common, and observational studies (investigations that ask whether individuals exposed to a suspected risk factor for a condition develop that condition more often than unexposed individuals) in children have reported that body mass index (BMI, an indicator of body fat calculated by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by their height in meters squared) is positively associated with asthma. Observational studies cannot prove that obesity causes asthma because of “confounding.” Overweight children with asthma may share another unknown characteristic (confounder) that actually causes both obesity and asthma. Moreover, children with asthma may be less active than unaffected children, so they become overweight (reverse causality). Here, the researchers use “Mendelian randomization” to assess whether BMI has a causal effect on asthma. In Mendelian randomization, causality is inferred from associations between genetic variants that mimic the effect of a modifiable risk factor and the outcome of interest. Because gene variants are inherited randomly, they are not prone to confounding and are free from reverse causation. So, if a higher BMI leads to asthma, genetic variants associated with increased BMI should be associated with an increased risk of asthma.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers investigated causal effects of BMI, fat mass, and lean mass on current asthma at age 7½ years in 4,835 children enrolled in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC, a long-term health project that started in 1991). They calculated an allele score for each child based on 32 BMI-related genetic variants, and estimated associations between this score and BMI, fat mass and lean mass (both measured using a special type of X-ray scanner; in children BMI is not a good indicator of “fatness”), and asthma. They report that the allele score was strongly associated with BMI, fat mass, and lean mass, and with childhood asthma. The estimated causal relative risk (risk ratio) for the effect of BMI on asthma was 1.55 per kg/m2. That is, the relative risk of asthma increased by 55% for every extra unit of BMI. The estimated causal relative risks for the effects of fat mass and lean mass on asthma were 1.41 per 0.5 kg and 2.25 per kg, respectively.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that a higher BMI increases the risk of asthma in mid-childhood and that global increases in BMI toward the end of the 20th century may have contributed to the global increase in asthma that occurred at the same time. It is possible that the observed association between BMI and asthma reported in this study is underpinned by “genetic pleiotropy” (a potential limitation of all Mendelian randomization analyses). That is, some of the genetic variants included in the BMI allele score could conceivably also increase the risk of asthma. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that public health interventions designed to reduce obesity may also help to limit the global rise in asthma.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on asthma and on all aspects of overweight and obesity (in English and Spanish)
The World Health Organization provides information on asthma and on obesity (in several languages)
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about asthma, about asthma in children, and about obesity (including real stories)
The Global Asthma Report 2011 is available
The Global Initiative for Asthma released its updated Global Strategy for Asthma Management and Prevention on World Asthma Day 2014
Information about the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children is available
MedlinePlus provides links to further information on obesity in children, on asthma, and on asthma in children (in English and Spanish
Wikipedia has a page on Mendelian randomization (note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
PMCID: PMC4077660  PMID: 24983943
22.  Asthma and allergies in Jamaican children aged 2–17 years: a cross-sectional prevalence survey 
BMJ Open  2012;2(4):e001132.
To determine the prevalence and severity of asthma and allergies as well as risk factors for asthma among Jamaican children aged 2–17 years.
A cross-sectional, community-based prevalence survey using the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood questionnaire. The authors selected a representative sample of 2017 children using stratified, multistage cluster sampling design using enumeration districts as primary sampling units.
Jamaica, a Caribbean island with a total population of approximately 2.6 million, geographically divided into 14 parishes.
Children aged 2–17 years, who were resident in private households. Institutionalised children such as those in boarding schools and hospitals were excluded from the survey.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
The prevalence and severity of asthma and allergy symptoms, doctor-diagnosed asthma and risk factors for asthma.
Almost a fifth (19.6%) of Jamaican children aged 2–17 years had current wheeze, while 16.7% had self-reported doctor-diagnosed asthma. Both were more common among males than among females. The prevalence of rhinitis, hay fever and eczema among children was 24.5%, 25% and 17.3%, respectively. Current wheeze was more common among children with rhinitis in the last 12 months (44.3% vs 12.6%, p<0.001), hay fever (36.8% vs 13.8%, p<0.001) and eczema (34.1% vs 16.4%, p<0.001). Independent risk factors for current wheeze (ORs, 95% CI) were chest infections in the first year of life 4.83 (3.00 to 7.77), parental asthma 4.19 (2.8 to 6.08), rhinitis in the last 12 months 6.92 (5.16 to 9.29), hay fever 4.82 (3.62 to 6.41), moulds in the home 2.25 (1.16 to 4.45), cat in the home 2.44 (1.66 to 3.58) and dog in the home 1.81 (1.18 to 2.78).
The prevalence of asthma and allergies in Jamaican children is high. Significant risk factors for asthma include chest infections in the first year of life, a history of asthma in the family, allergies, moulds and pets in the home.
Article summary
Article focus
The prevalence of asthma and allergies in both developed and developing countries is continuing to rise.
In some Caribbean countries, asthma is a public health problem associated with high economic costs.
This study determined the prevalence of asthma, allergy symptoms and associated risk factors.
Key messages
We demonstrated that the prevalence of asthma and allergy symptoms among Jamaican children aged 2–17 years is high.
Both the prevalence and severity of asthma symptoms are comparable to that reported among children in high-income countries.
Current wheeze and doctor-diagnosed asthma were more common in males and in children with allergies.
A history of asthma in the family, chest infections in the first year of life, allergies, exposure to moulds and pets in the home were associated with significant risk for asthma.
Identifying children at high risk for asthma and controlling modifiable risk factors is important in reducing the prevalence and morbidity related to asthma.
Strengths and limitations of this study
This is the first national study on asthma and allergies in Jamaica using a nationally representative sample of children with a response rate of 80%.
We used a modified ISAAC protocol in which sampling was done by household rather than by school. Using a population-based sampling strategy; we sampled one child and one adult per household. This approach enabled us to obtain national prevalence estimates for both adults and children in one survey at a reduced cost.
Limitations of this study include the fact that the prevalence of asthma and allergies was based solely on self-reports, no objective measures were done. Also in younger children, caregivers responded to questionnaires.
PMCID: PMC3400072  PMID: 22798254
23.  Peak Flow Measurements in Children with Asthma: What Happens at School? 
Self-monitoring of symptoms or peak flow monitoring (PFM) is recommended for all asthma patients and is commonly included in asthma management plans. Limited data are available documenting PFM outcomes in school settings.
Three hundred twenty-three urban children with persistent asthma were enrolled in a school-based study that implemented an internet-based asthma monitoring and data collection system. The mean age of the children was 10.0 (SD 2.1) years; 57% were male and 91% were African American. Children logged in daily to an internet-based program to record their asthma symptoms and PFM reading. Teachers logged in daily to confirm the PFM readings. School staff responsible for student health reported actions taken for low PFM readings.
A total of 12,245 child reports were completed; 98% (n=11,974) had corresponding teacher reports, confirming the peak flow meter readings reported by the children. The prevalence of reported asthma symptoms varied across PFM readings; the highest prevalence occurred in the setting of red zone readings, with intermediate prevalence in the setting of yellow zone readings, and lowest prevalence in the setting of green zone readings. The actions reported in response to children’s symptoms and peak flow results similarly varied; however, instances of no action were reported in the setting of yellow and red zone readings. When comparing the “worst days” of children who had ever had a red or yellow PFM reading with those of children who only had exhibited green, there was a nonsignificant trend toward fewer symptoms in the green-only group. Additionally, there was a nonsignificant trend toward a greater likelihood of being sent to the office or school nurse with greater symptoms in the setting of a yellow or red zone reading.
On the whole, peak flow readings tended to correspond to asthma disease activity. However, the data indicate that school staff may be more inclined to take action based on their own perceptions of a child’s asthma or respond to children’s subjective reports of asthma symptoms rather than using a more objective measure of disease activity provided by a peak flow meter.
PMCID: PMC2763562  PMID: 19657891
asthma; peak flow; school; children; wheeze
24.  Direct and Indirect Costs of Asthma in School-age Children 
Preventing Chronic Disease  2004;2(1):A11.
Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood and is the most common cause of school absenteeism due to chronic conditions. The objective of this study is to estimate direct and indirect costs of asthma in school-age children.
Using data from the 1996 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, we estimated direct medical costs and school absence days among school-age children who had treatment for asthma during 1996. We estimated indirect costs as costs of lost productivity arising from parents’ loss of time from work and lifetime earnings lost due to premature death of children from asthma. All costs were calculated in 2003 dollars.
In 1996, an estimated 2.52 million children aged five to 17 years received treatment for asthma. Direct medical expenditure was $1009.8 million ($401 per child with asthma), including payments for prescribed medicine, hospital inpatient stay, hospital outpatient care, emergency room visits, and office-based visits. Children with treated asthma had a total of 14.5 million school absence days; asthma accounts for 6.3 million school absence days (2.48 days per child with asthma). Parents’ loss of productivity from asthma-related school absence days was $719.1 million ($285 per child with asthma). A total of 211 school-age children died of asthma during 1996, accounting for $264.7 million lifetime earnings lost ($105 per child with asthma). Total economic impact of asthma in school-age children was $1993.6 million ($791 per child with asthma).
The economic impact of asthma on school-age children, families, and society is immense, and more public health efforts to better control asthma in children are needed.
PMCID: PMC1323314  PMID: 15670464
25.  Comparative effectiveness of asthma interventions within a practice based research network 
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that affects more than 23 million people in the United States, including 7 million children. Asthma is a difficult to manage chronic condition associated with disparities in health outcomes, poor medical compliance, and high healthcare costs. The research network coordinating this project includes hospitals, urgent care centers, and outpatient clinics within Carolinas Healthcare System that share a common electronic medical record and billing system allowing for rapid collection of clinical and demographic data. This study investigates the impact of three interventions on clinical outcomes for patients with asthma. Interventions are: an integrated approach to care that incorporates asthma management based on the chronic care model; a shared decision making intervention for asthma patients in underserved or disadvantaged populations; and a school based care approach that examines the efficacy of school-based programs to impact asthma outcomes including effectiveness of linkages between schools and the healthcare providers.
This study will include 95 Practices, 171 schools, and over 30,000 asthmatic patients. Five groups (A-E) will be evaluated to determine the effectiveness of three interventions. Group A is the usual care control group without electronic medical record (EMR). Group B practices are a second control group that has an EMR with decision support, asthma action plans, and population reports at baseline. A time delay design during year one converts practices in Group B to group C after receiving the integrated approach to care intervention. Four practices within Group C will receive the shared decision making intervention (and become group D). Group E will receive a school based care intervention through case management within the schools. A centralized database will be created with the goal of facilitating comparative effectiveness research on asthma outcomes specifically for this study. Patient and community level analysis will include results from patient surveys, focus groups, and asthma patient density mapping. Community variables such as income and housing density will be mapped for comparison. Outcomes to be measured are reduced hospitalizations and emergency department visits; improved adherence to medication; improved quality of life; reduced school absenteeism; improved self-efficacy and improved school performance.
Identifying new mechanisms that improve the delivery of asthma care is an important step towards advancing patient outcomes, avoiding preventable Emergency Department visits and hospitalizations, while simultaneously reducing overall healthcare costs.
PMCID: PMC3176175  PMID: 21846401
asthma; comparative effectiveness research; shared decision making; integrated approach to care

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