A survey of schoolchildren in Bronx, showed that 25% had asthma, and only 27% of those students had the city-mandated medical administration form on file at school, according to study data.
In 2012, researchers submitted 1,270 self-administered questionnaires for parents of children in grades 2 through 4 at four Bronx elementary schools with questions pertaining to asthma, medication and symptoms. Responses to the six-item surveys were returned by 61% of participants, who indicated that 25% of the children had physician-diagnosed asthma. Eighty percent of the children were prescribed asthma medication.
At least one urgent asthma visit to a health care center in the previous year was reported by 55% of those reporting asthma. Fifty-one percent of caregivers of the asthmatic children reported that the child’s symptoms were exacerbated by exercise, and 9% said asthma limited the child’s participation in sports.
Of those prescribed medication, only 27% reported having a medical administration form (MAF) filed with the school; 15% were unaware that the forms existed.
The researchers reported that other studies showed a 20% prevalence of asthmatic students in Bronx schools, and the 2009 Child Community Health Survey showed 16.7% (95% CI, 14.4 -19.4) prevalence among students aged 6 to 12 years, but fewer cases were reported by schools.
Study limitations, according to the researchers, included its limited geographical range, suggesting that the conclusions may not be applicable to other communities. It also was noted that response was low, although comparable to rates for studies in other urban areas.
“We found that a short, take-home, self-administered caregiver survey identified 74% more cases of asthma than did the schools, and that MAFs are markedly lacking,” the researchers said. “Instituting a streamlined method of school asthma case identification and communicating to caregivers the importance of MAF submission may improve school asthma management.”