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Contempo Updates | Clinician's Corner

Pediatric Asthma

Robert A. Wood, MD
JAMA. 2002;288(6):745-747. doi:10.1001/jama.288.6.745.
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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.13 Between 1980 and 1995, the number of US children with asthma rose from 2.3 million to 5.5 million; this rise is continuing.14 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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