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2004 Media Releases


Date:
February 27, 2004
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Cindy Rempe, Community Asthma Education Initiative, 219-8032, 430-0202


Mayor Releases Findings From Community’s First Asthma Study

Lincoln Mayor Coleen Seng this morning released the findings from Lincoln’s first study on the impact of asthma in the community. The 50-page report is the result of a joint effort of the Community Asthma Education Initiative, the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department and the State of Nebraska Health and Human Services System.

Asthma: A Report to the Community of Lancaster County 2003 revealed that 8.8 percent of the population of Lincoln and Lancaster County has reported having asthma. This compares to reported asthma cases in 7.2 percent of the population statewide.

"These statistics are even more alarming when you consider that for every asthma sufferer, there are other family members who are directly affected," said Mayor Seng. "Asthma really has an impact on nearly everyone in our community."

The study also determined that 13.9 percent of females in Lincoln and Lancaster County have asthma compared to 4.1 percent of men. For women who are pregnant, low-income and between the ages of 16 and 40, the asthma rate jumps to 20 to 22 percent.

The study indicated that 8 percent of LPS students were diagnosed with asthma. Of those, 6 percent reported a level of "moderate" or "severe persistent" asthma. Students with asthma averaged two more sick days per year than students without asthma.

"While the health care community is deeply concerned about these statistics, there is some good news about asthma because the disease is manageable," said Cindy Rempe, the coordinator of the Community Asthma Education Initiative, a group founded in 1998 to improve the quality, availability and continuity of asthma management in Lancaster County. "Avoiding asthma triggers such as dust, animal fur and feathers, extremely cold air and tobacco smoke can help reduce the incidences of asthma."

In 1996, Nebraska had the second highest ranking in the nation for asthma-related deaths. Today, all 19 local health departments in Nebraska have recognized asthma as one of the top five diseases they are targeting within their jurisdictions. Other diseases that consistently appear on the health department lists include cardio-vascular disease, diabetes and cancer.

Today’s announcement ends a week-long effort, led by the Community Asthma Education Initiative, to hand-deliver more than 800 reports to the area’s health care professionals to raise awareness of the report and its critical findings. For a copy of the report or to get more information on asthma and the resources to manage it, visit www.communityasthma.org or call the Community Asthma Education Initiative at (402) 219-8032.


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