A blueprint for a plan to reduce the rates of asthma amonglow-income and minority children was released Thursday, an efforttaken on by several federal agencies. The suggestion is to develop a multi-pronged approach to reachpatients who seem to be consistently alienated from asthma care.Minorities would best be served if barriers to care were reduced,ways to deliver care were enhanced, interventions were institutedand communities most likely to have asthma were targeted, accordingto the plan that will be carried about by the EnvironmentalProtection Agency and Health and Human Services, among otherfederal agencies. What the Action Plan Will Do: Reduce barriers to asthma care : Ensure that the populations most severely impacted by asthmareceive evidence-based comprehensive care, which includes access tomedical services, education and environmental interventions. Build local capacity : Enhance capacity to deliver integrated, community-based asthmacare systems. |
Target services : Identify the children, families and communities most impacted byasthma disparities. Accelerate prevention efforts : Increase understanding of the cause or causes of asthma and testinterventions that may prevent the onset of asthma. The timeline for delivering on these suggestions is 3 to 5 years. Low-income and minority communities often face an unacceptableburden of pollution in this country, diminishing their economicpotential and threatening the health of millions of Americanfamilies, said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council onEnvironmental Quality. Minority and low-income children suffer from the disease most,according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control.
About16 percent of African American children have asthma, while the ratefor Hispanics is 8 percent. Of Latinos, Puerto Ricans are hardesthit with 16.5 percent showing signs of the affliction. Mexicansreported 7 percent. Blacks and Puerto Ricans have asthma at ratesmore than double that of Caucasian children in the United States.
Asthma can be costly, if you factor in medical expenses and thetime lost from school and work, according to the EnvironmentalProtection Agency. Medical expenses associated with asthma areestimated to be more than $50 billion annually. In 2008, thedisease accounted for 10.5 million missed school days.
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