Asthma, a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways, is one of the most common chronic diseases affecting children. It can cause wheezing, chest tightness, and coughing, particularly at night or after exercise. More severe asthma attacks can result in breathlessness, agitation, and respiratory failure.
Overall, parents of 9.0 percent of children reported that their child had asthma at the time of the survey. For most children with asthma (71.4 percent) the condition was reported as mild but for the remaining 23.0 and 5.6 percent, asthma was reported as moderate and severe, respectively. The proportion of children with asthma varied slightly with regard to the child's sex. Boys were more likely than girls to have asthma (10.1 versus 7.9 percent, respectively).
The proportion of children with asthma varied by race and ethnicity, as did the severity of the condition. The parents of 15.7 percent of Black children reported that their child had asthma, as did the parents of 13.3 percent of multiracial children, 8.0 percent of White children, and 7.1 percent of Hispanic children. Among children with asthma, parents of Black children were also most likely to report the condition as severe (10.3 percent), compared to 6.5 percent of Hispanic, 4.7 percent of multiracial, and 3.0 percent of White children. Hispanic children had the lowest reported rate of asthma. Research has consistently found that while parents of Hispanic children are less likely than non-Hispanic parents to report health conditions such as asthma in their children, Hispanic children's conditions are often more severe.1
The prevalence of asthma among children is higher among children in lower-income households. Of children with household incomes below the poverty level, 11.8 percent were reported to have asthma, compared to 9.7 percent of children with household incomes between 100 and 199 percent of poverty, 8.6 percent of children with household incomes between 200 and 399 percent of the Federal poverty level (FPL), and 7.3 percent of children with household incomes of 400 percent or more of the FPL.
1 Stingore J A and Claudio L. Disparities in the use of urgent health care services among asthmatic children. Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology 2006; 97(2): 244-50.