TI: Prevalence, impact, and trends in childhood disability due to asthma.
Arch-Pediatr-Adolesc-Med. 2000 Mar; 154(3): 287-93.
AB: BACKGROUND: Although not widely recognized as such, asthma is the single
most prevalent cause of childhood disability and has contributed to a
substantial rise in the overall prevalence of disability among children during
the past 25 years. OBJECTIVE: To provide a national profile of the prevalence,
impact, and trends in childhood disability due to asthma. (Disability is a
long-term reduction in the ability to participate in children's usual
activities, such as attending school or engaging in play, due to a chronic
condition.) METHODS: We derived our primary findings from a cross-sectional,
descriptive analysis of 62171 children younger than 18 years who were included
in the 1994-1995 National Health Interview Survey. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:
Outcome measures include the presence of disability, degree of disability,
restricted activity days, school absence days, and use of hospital and physician
services. We also used data from the 1969-1970, 1979-1981, and 1994-1995
National Health Interview Surveys to assess trends in the prevalence of
disability due to asthma. RESULTS: A small, but significant, proportion of
children, estimated at 1.4% of all US children, experienced some degree of
disability due to asthma in 1994-1995. Prevalence of disability due to asthma
was higher for adolescents (odds ratio [OR], 1.64), black children (OR, 1.66),
males (OR, 1.23), and children from low income (OR, 1.46) and single-parent
families (OR, 1.37). Disabling asthma resulted in an annual average of 20
restricted activity days, including 10 days lost from school-almost twice the
level of illness burden as experienced by children with disabilities due to
other types of chronic conditions.
Finally, prevalence of disabling asthma, as reported in the National Health
Interview Survey, has increased 232% since 1969, the first year that electronic
data are available from the survey. In contrast, prevalence of disability due to
all other childhood chronic conditions increased by 113% over the same period.
CONCLUSIONS: Disabling asthma has profound effects on children. The
social costs of asthma are likely to rise in the future if current trends in the
prevalence of disabling asthma continue.