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More than 24 million people in the United States now suffer from asthma, a 12.3 percent increase over the rate in 2001, a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found.
The study, which reviewed the number of asthma cases between 2001 and 2009, found that 9.6 percent of children had asthma and that the rate is highest among poor children. Fully 17 percent of black children had asthma, according to the findings, which were published in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on May 3 and as a Vital Signs report.
The study is important because it confirms that cases of asthma are rising, despite the belief among some in the field who had suspected the numbers might be declining, said Maureen Damitz, AE-C, board chair of the Chicago Asthma Consortium.
“People are under the impression that asthma’s just a little breathing problem,” she told The Nation’s Health. “But if they’ve seen someone in a severe asthma episode I think they would see asthma differently.”
The study’s authors said it is not clear why the number of cases of asthma has increased by more than 12 percent. CDC and the Environmental Protection Agency have said in the past that climate change and air pollution could be a contributing factor to asthma, as could mold spores and other environmental issues.