Global Plan Launched To Cut Childhood Asthma Deaths By 50%

December 11, 1998

In Barcelona, Spain today at the World Asthma Meeting, international experts in asthma management called for global action to reduce childhood asthma deaths by 50%. The five-year effort, announced on the eve of the first ever World Asthma Day (December 11), aims to significantly reduce the mortality and morbidity associated with this disease. World Asthma Day is coordinated by GINA (Global Initiative for Asthma - established by the World Health Organization, and the NHLBI or US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health) and the European Respiratory Society. In addition to the NHLBI, official supporting organizations of World Asthma Day from the US are the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) and the American Thoracic Society (ATS). Other international supporting organizations include the European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD).

Asthma is a chronic condition characterized by a narrowing of the bronchial tubes, swelling of the bronchial tube lining, and mucus secretion that can block the airway, making breathing difficult. The prevalence of asthma can be as high as 30 percent among certain populations, and internationally, cases have more than tripled in the last ten years. In the U.S. between 1990 and 1994, the number of people reported to suffer from asthma increased from 10.4 million to 14.6 million with approximately 5.0 million of them children.

The theme of the inaugural World Asthma Day is Help Our Children Breathe. Globally, asthma is reported to be the single most common chronic disease causing absence from school, and 35% of children with asthma experience significant pain or discomfort as a result.

The Agenda for Action, announced today by Professor Romain Pauwels, chairman of GINA, calls for parents, physicians, public authorities and national organizations to work together to address childhood asthma and the following specified international targets by the year 2005:

Key short-term strategies to achieve the targets of the Agenda for Action include:

The NHLBI's National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) is the lead agency for US activities related to World Asthma Day. In recognition of World Asthma Day, the NAEPP is launching a new website ( that provides a science-based decision-making tool, as well as an educational and communications resource, for health care professionals, researchers, public health planners, and others concerned about asthma.

The AAAAI web site provides an update on its national Pediatric Asthma: Promoting Best Practice initiative ( Information about asthma and other pulmonary diseases, as well as a link to the Chicago Asthma Consortium, is available on the ACCP website at

In the US, many grassroots organizations dedicated to the support of asthma patients and their families will be hosting activities in commemoration of World Asthma Day. For information about local groups and activities, please call Lori Atkins at the ATS, or Abby Nash at the American Lung Association (212-315-6622) .

Asthma Statistics

Global Figures:

The NHLBI is a part of the National Institutes of Health, and agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Its major mission is to foster research investigations, train research scientists, and translate research results to impact on public health.

The AAAAI is the largest professional medical specialty organization in the United States, representing allergists, medical specialists, clinical immunologists, allied health professionals and others with a special interest in the research and treatment of allergic disease.

The ACCP is the leading resource for the improvement of cardiopulmonary health and critical care worldwide. Its 15,000 members encompass all the disciplines of chest medicine, including pulmonology, cardiology, thoracic surgery, asthma, immunology, critical care and pediatrics.

The ATS is an international professional and scientific society focussing on respiratory and critical care medicine. The Society has 12,500 members who help prevent and fight respiratory disease through research, education, patient care and advocacy. The American Thoracic Society also serves as the medical section of the American Lung Association, a voluntary health agency devoted to preventing lung disease and promoting lung health.
Ellen Sommer, NHLBI tel: 301/496-4236 e-mail:
Sarah Cox, AAAAI tel: 414-272-6071 e-mail:
Sydney Parker, ACCP tel: 847-498-1400 e-mail:
Lori Atkins, ATS tel: 212-315-6442 e-mail:

NOTE: B-roll with animation of the airways constriction that occurs in asthma and footage of people from around the world undergoing examinations for asthma, taking asthma medications and other situations related to asthma is available from the NHLBI.

NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

Related Asthma Articles from Brightsurf:

Breastfeeding and risks of allergies and asthma
In an Acta Paediatrica study, exclusive breastfeeding for the first 3 months was linked with a lower risk of respiratory allergies and asthma when children reached 6 years of age.

Researchers make asthma breakthrough
Researchers from Trinity College Dublin have made a breakthrough that may eventually lead to improved therapeutic options for people living with asthma.

Physics vs. asthma
A research team from the MIPT Center for Molecular Mechanisms of Aging and Age-Related Diseases has collaborated with colleagues from the U.S., Canada, France, and Germany to determine the spatial structure of the CysLT1 receptor.

New knowledge on the development of asthma
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have studied which genes are expressed in overactive immune cells in mice with asthma-like inflammation of the airways.

Eating fish may help prevent asthma
A scientist from James Cook University in Australia says an innovative study has revealed new evidence that eating fish can help prevent asthma.

Academic performance of urban children with asthma worse than peers without asthma
A new study published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology shows urban children with poorly controlled asthma, particularly those who are ethnic minorities, also suffer academically.

Asthma Controller Step Down Yardstick -- treatment guidance for when asthma improves
The focus for asthma treatment is often stepping up treatment, but clinicians need to know how to step down therapy when symptoms improve.

Asthma management tools improve asthma control and reduce hospital visits
A set of comprehensive asthma management tools helps decrease asthma-related visits to the emergency department, urgent care or hospital and improves patients' asthma control.

Asthma linked to infertility but not among women taking regular asthma preventers
Women with asthma who only use short-acting asthma relievers take longer to become pregnant than other women, according to research published in the European Respiratory Journal.

What are the best ways to diagnose and manage asthma?
A team of experts from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston examined the current information available from many different sources on diagnosing and managing mild to moderate asthma in adults and summarized them.

Read More: Asthma News and Asthma Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to