How do you breathe better? Isn’t that something that we do naturally every day? Most people can’t imagine not being able to breathe properly, but for the one in six Kiwis living with a respiratory condition, this is a reality.

On 1 September the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ will launch the first ever respiratory awareness month in New Zealand. Breathe Better September is a national movement for Kiwis to show their support for better breathing and healthy lungs.

“Over 700,000 Kiwis have a respiratory condition, it’s the third leading cause of death and costs the country $5.5 billion each year. But despite New Zealand having one of the highest rates of respiratory disease in the world, it is not highly profiled,” says Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ Chief Executive John Wills.

Breathe Better September encourages Kiwis to start thinking about how they can improve their respiratory health, and information will be shared throughout the month to support this. The Foundation is also calling for people to sign a photo petition to show their support for better breathing.

The Foundation’s ambassador Erin Simpson says, “It’s so easy, grab a piece of paper and a pen, write Breathe Better September and send in a photo holding it up. Post it on your social media using the campaign name as the hashtag to help us raise awareness!”

Breathe Better September comes nearly a year after the launch of Te Hā Ora: National Respiratory Strategy. The strategy highlights a range of respiratory conditions that are prevalent in New Zealand, and the shocking statistics showing many conditions are on the rise. The strategy sets out clear steps that all new Zealanders need to take to reduce the impact of the disease.

The Foundation anticipates a diverse range of individuals, health organisations, and businesses to jump on board the campaign. By doing so we can work together and take one step forward in making an impact on the appalling respiratory statistics in our country.

Respiratory disease includes asthma, bronchiectasis, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer and obstructive sleep apnoea.