Tue Nov 30, 2004
LONDON (Reuters) - Asthma rates among UK children have quadrupled since the 1970s and more than doubled in the past decade, according to a study published on Wednesday.
More than 2,700 children have been involved in a 30-year research project, which has identified a major increase in asthma levels between 1973 and 2003.
Back in 1973, a project survey showed that 5.5 percent of children had been diagnosed with asthma. By 1988, that number had more than doubled, with 12% suffering from the condition.
The latest in the series of surveys, carried out in 2003, showed 27.3 percent with asthma.
The study was released at the British Thoracic Society's (BTS) Winter Meeting in London.
"Just when we thought we may have turned a corner, our research shows that asthma prevalence has rocketed over the past 30 years," said Dr Michael Burr of the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, who led the research.
"We all need to have a better understanding of the condition and measures to combat it."
Professor Andrew Peacock of the BTS noted the UK has among the highest rates of asthma in Europe.
"We must tackle asthma on a number of fronts, including vital research into possible genetic causes and urge appropriate use of preventative treatments, as this study shows that their use can be beneficial," he added in a statement.