About 23 million people, including almost 7 million children, have asthma. 1 ,2
* Asthma prevalence is higher among families with lower incomes.
• 12 million people report having an asthma attack in the past year. 3
• Asthma accounts for nearly 17 million physician office and hospital visits, 4 and nearly 2
million emergency department visits each year. 3
• African Americans continue to have higher rates of asthma emergency department visits,
hospitalizations, and deaths than do Caucasians:
* The rate of emergency department visits is 350% higher. 3
* The hospitalization rate is 240% higher. 3
* The asthma death rate is 200% higher. 3
• Approximately 2 million Hispanics in the U.S. have asthma and Puerto Ricans are
• The rate of asthma among Puerto Ricans is 125% higher than non-Hispanic white
people and 80% higher than non-Hispanic black people. 3
• The prevalence of asthma attacks is highest among Puerto Ricans. 3
Asthma in Children:
• Asthma is one of the most common serious chronic diseases of childhood.
• Asthma is the third-ranking cause of hospitalization among children under 15. 5
• Asthma in children is the cause of seven million physician visits and nearly 200,000
• An average of one out of every 10 school-aged child has asthma. 6
• 13 million school days are missed each year due to asthma. 7
The Cost of Asthma:
• Annual expenditures for health and lost productivity due to asthma are estimated at over
$20 billion, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. 8
Asthma continues to be a serious public health problem. According to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention:
Asthma and the Environment
Research by EPA and others has shown that:
• Dust mites, molds, cockroaches, pet dander, and secondhand smoke trigger asthma
• Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause asthma in pre-school aged children.
• Exposure to dust mites can cause asthma.
• Ozone and particle pollution can cause asthma attacks.
* When ozone levels are high, more people with asthma have attacks that require a
* Ozone makes people more sensitive to asthma triggers such as pet dander, pollen,
dust mites, and mold.
1. Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2008, Tables 3
and 4. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/sr10_242.pdf
2.Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Children: National Health Interview Survey, 2008, Table 1.
3. Akinbami L. Asthma Prevelance, Health Care Use and Mortality: United States 2003-2005.
4. National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 2006 Summary, Table 12
5. DeFrances CJ, Cullen KA, Kozak LJ. National Hospital Discharge Survey: 2005 Annual Summary
with Detailed Diagnosis and Procedure Data. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital
Health Statistics 12 (165); 2007. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_13/sr13_165.pdf.
6. American Lung Association, Epidemiology and Statistics Unit, Research and Program Services.
Trends in Asthma Morbidity and Mortality. November 2007. (ALA age group analysis of NHIS
through 2005). http://www.lungusa.org/atf/cf/%7B7a8d42c2-fcca-4604- 8ade-
7. Akinbami LJ. The State of Childhood Asthma, United States, 1980-2005, Advance Data from
Vital and Health Statistics: no 381, Revised December 29, 2006, Hyattsville, MD: National Center
for Health Statistics, 2006 (NHIS 2003 absenteeism)http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ad/ad381.pdf.
8. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Chartbook on Cardiovascular, Lung, and Blood
Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Health, 2009.