The Global Asthma Network (GAN) has released the results of its Phase 1 study, which shows how the worldwide burden of children’s asthma symptoms is changing.

The report, published in The Lancet today (Friday 29 October), includes brand new data showing time trends in asthma symptoms for two age groups of children: 6-7 year olds and 13-14 year olds. One of the locations included in the study is Auckland.

Overall, almost 120,000 children and adolescents from 14 countries were included in the study, which spans 27 years (1993-2020). Over this period, severe asthma symptoms in adolescents dropped significantly. The prevalence of current wheeze decreased in low-income countries, but increased in lower-middle income countries, and was stable in upper-middle and high-income countries.

The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ (ARFNZ) is a supporter of GAN and has sponsored their research in the past.

"The great news from the New Zealand perspective is that the survey suggests the proportion of children and adolescents with severe asthma is decreasing," says ARFNZ Medical Director Dr James Fingleton. "We now need to focus on getting the best asthma management in place for all patients around the country to reduce the burden of severe asthma."

ARFNZ provides a range of resources to help children and their whānau to manage asthma symptoms effectively. These include asthma action plans and symptom diaries, which are produced in a variety of languages including English, te reo Māori, Samoan and Tongan.

"We’re pleased to see this comprehensive worldwide research published," says ARFNZ Chief Executive Letitia Harding. "It should help to inform how asthma is managed not just in New Zealand but around the world."  


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