The prevalence of pediatric asthma has risen sharply over the past 30
years, as has its impact on childhood morbidity and associated costs. These
statistics are of particular concern because the understanding of asthma has
clearly improved, as have the medications available for its control.
The rise in asthma prevalence is not unique to the United States but
has occurred in other developed countries. Current estimates in the United
States indicate that the number of children with asthma has increased by about
150% in the past 20 years.1- 3
Between 1980 and 1995, the number of US children with asthma rose from 2.3
million to 5.5 million; this rise is continuing.1- 4
The increase has occurred in both sexes and in all ethnic groups, with the
sharpest increases occurring in children younger than 5 years and in urban,
predominantly minority, populations.3,5
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