World Asthma Day is coming up on 4 May, and Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ (ARFNZ) is urging Kiwis to get sporty for a good cause.

The annual awareness campaign is hosted by ARFNZ to educate Kiwis about one of New Zealand’s most prevalent respiratory diseases.

"One in seven Kiwi children have asthma, as well as one in eight adults," says ARFNZ Chief Executive Letitia Harding. "Asthma also has a large prevalence within our schools and communities, especially among Māori and Pacific populations."

This year’s World Asthma Day theme is Uncovering Asthma Misconceptions, and one big myth that can stop children from enjoying physical activity is that people with asthma should avoid playing sport. "Sports and physical activity are actually great for maintaining healthy lungs, as long as asthma is well managed," says Letitia. "It’s really important that children living with asthma get the opportunity to participate and reach their full sporting potential."

To keep their asthma well controlled and enjoy life to the full, children living with asthma need an Asthma Action Plan. This year, ARFNZ is raising funds to get Action Plans into the hands of all New Zealand children with asthma. Stats show that only a third of children with asthma currently have an Action Plan.

"Having an asthma management plan in place helps you recognise and manage worsening asthma symptoms and know when to get help," says Research and Education Manager Joanna Turner. "Research shows that people who follow Asthma Action Plans have better control over their asthma and reduced emergency visits to general practice. It’s so important to have a plan in place so that you can enjoy sports and physical activity while keeping your asthma symptoms under control."

How you can contribute

If you’d like to donate to get Asthma Action Plans to children who need them, visit Each $5 you give gains an entry into the draw to win one of several great prizes. These include two Garmin Vivofit 4 - the perfect tool to keep track of physical activity and encourage respiratory health and fitness.

There are also exciting prizes kindly donated by our Friends of the Foundation Sponsors and other Kiwi companies, including a signed Highlanders Jersey from Pulse Energy, an air purifier from Daikin, and a $250 voucher from Shoe Clinic.

You can also take part in a World Asthma Day fundraising challenge or activity. Why not organise a sausage sizzle or a car wash day with your sports team? Or set yourself your own individual fitness challenge to raise funds this World Asthma Day - go for a bike ride, a run, or set yourself some netball, hockey shots, or rugby goals?

For more information on World Asthma Day, visit

Media Coverage

15/04/2021 - NZ Doctor


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