Breathing Right: Asthma
What’s the story?
A significant number of people are affected by asthma, a chronic respiratory disease characterized by inflammation and episodic narrowing of the airways. The burden of this chronic disease is felt everyday by individuals who suffer from it, whether it's a frightening asthma attack or the struggle to adhere to the treatment plans required to keep it under control. The costs in lost productivity, health care related expenditures and educational interruption are significant. Asthma cannot be cured, but it can be controlled so that people are able to lead active and healthy lives.
By the Numbers
Asthma is a public health concern affecting about 9% of New Jersey adults and about 9% of New Jersey children. There are significant disparities in the burden of asthma among specific populations in New Jersey. Blacks, non-Hispanic adults in New Jersey have the highest asthma prevalence (about 14%).
New Jersey has adopted a broad, multi-disciplinary approach to addressing asthma. The complex nature of this epidemic requires partnerships with State as well as non-governmental organizations. These partnerships have included:
- Department of Health (DOH) Division of Family Health Services, the Division of Epidemiology, Environmental and Occupational Health, Office of Minority and Multicultural Health, Comprehensive Tobacco Control Program, and Center for Health Statistics
- New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
- New Jersey Department of Education
- New Jersey Department Human Services
- Pediatric/Adult Asthma Coalition of New Jersey
- Community-based/faith-based organizations
The DOH-Asthma Program and the State Asthma Committee partnered to create the New Jersey Asthma Strategic Plan 2008-2013, which serves as a guidance document for the state government, healthcare providers, community organizations, public health advocates and others in the awareness, management and treatment of asthma in New Jersey. The DOH actively supported the American Lung Association of New Jersey and the New Jersey Thoracic Society in the founding of the Pediatric/Adult Asthma Coalition of New Jersey (PACNJ) to act as a statewide clearinghouse for pediatric asthma programs and services.
The DOH's Asthma in New Jersey 2010-2012 is a comprehensive report describing the effects of asthma on the health of New Jersey residents and surveillance efforts within the state. Surveillance updates are being conducted to help achieve the Healthy New Jersey 2020 goals of reducing asthma hospitalizations and reduced deaths.
Did you know?
In New Jersey, approximately 587,000 adults and 179,000 children currently have asthma.
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* Rate per 100,000 population
† Only one year of data currently available