Airing Asthma’s Story

Asthma Control for Preschoolers…CDC Helps Makes it as Easy as A B C!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Asthma Control Program (NACP) helps state and local programs teach people how to prevent asthma attacks and gain control over asthma.

The Problem
About one in ten preschool children is diagnosed with asthma. This age group has twice the number of asthma-related emergency department visits and overnight hospital stays as older kids. There are not many asthma management programs designed for parents of preschool children who need the tools and information to keep their children healthy.

CDC Supports Programs to Address the Problem of Asthma Control
CDC’s NACP funded a unique intervention for preschoolers, called Asthma Basics for Children (ABC). The ABC intervention resulted in positive changes including increased attendance at school and better interactions between parents and healthcare providers.

The Plan: Educate Families and Daycare Providers to Reduce Asthma Risk
CDC launched ABC in over 30 daycare centers in New York City to bring greater asthma control to young children. The local CDC-funded programs trained daycare center staff on ways to reduce the risk of asthma attacks. As a result, they knew how to find “triggers” of asthma – the things that might set-off an attack. For example, unneeded rugs were removed, daycare workers dusted more often, and employees changed air conditioner filters to keep room air cleaner.

Parents attended workshops, films, and question and answer sessions with doctors. The program also held trainings with children’s healthcare providers. These trainings stressed the importance of knowing how to talk with parents of children with asthma and how to decide on the best medicine for each child. They also helped develop asthma action plans for kids. An action plan is a personal plan to help people control their asthma. Everyone with asthma should have an action plan.

Positive Outcomes
The ABC intervention resulted in positive changes. After completing the program:

  • 85% of parents reported reducing their child’s asthma triggers
  • 89% of parents said it was easier to talk with their child’s doctor
  • 80% said they were confident in their ability to manage their child’s asthma.

After the intervention, both daytime and nighttime symptoms improved for children.

Daycare absences, emergency room visits, and hospital stays were also greatly reduced among the ABC program participants.

These outcomes show how including daycare centers, healthcare providers, and families in the intervention can lead to greater reach of the message and greater success. ABC resulted in better health for children and decreased the burden on daycare centers, parents, and the healthcare system.

Like many of CDC’s NACP success stories, Controlling Asthma in American Cities improved many lives. Controlling Asthma in American Cities funded new ideas to improve asthma control for children up to 18 years old in cities with a high asthma burden and a lack of services to help. The results of the programs and reviews of how the programs were created were published as “The Controlling Asthma in American Cities Project: It takes a community”external icon Publication: Special Supplement to the Journal of Urban Health, 2011; 88 (S1).

CDC’s NACP continues to fund asthma control initiatives throughout the country and across a wide range of populations. We can continue to improve the health of Americans with asthma by giving them—and the people who care for them—tools, knowledge, and support so that they can prevent asthma attacks.

Follow the links below to read more about ways we are Helping Americans Breathe Easier.

Helping Americans Gain Asthma Control

Page last reviewed: February 14, 2012