Date: May 5, 2003
For Release: Immediately
Contact: HHS Press Office
STATEMENT BY TOMMY G. THOMPSON
Secretary of Health and Human Services
Regarding World Asthma Day
May 6, 2003
Tomorrow, on World Asthma Day 2003, we reaffirm our commitment to increase
public awareness about the burden that asthma places on all members of our
communities, especially on children and African Americans. We also
recognize those who are striving to reduce the global burden of asthma and
promote better asthma diagnosis and treatment.
Asthma is one of the most common chronic health conditions in the United
States. More than 20 million Americans suffer from it, including more than
6 million children. Nearly 5,000 Americans die from asthma each year, and
African Americans are the most likely to visit emergency rooms, be
hospitalized, and die from asthma. In the year 2000, the asthma death rate
for African Americans was 3 times that for non-Hispanic whites.
HHS' National Asthma Education and Prevention Program at the National Heart,
Lung, and Blood Institute is the U.S. Coordinator for World Asthma Day. It
has established "Communities Working for Life and Breath" as the national
theme to emphasize that asthma affects all members of a community, not just
those with the condition, and that all communities must fight this
potentially life-threatening condition if progress is to be made.
HHS' "Steps to a HealthierUS" initiative will help in the campaign against
asthma. As part of this initiative to prevent asthma, diabetes, and
obesity, HHS is supporting community initiatives to achieve healthier
lifestyles for hundreds of thousands of Americans. As part of this year's
$15 million initiative, we will award grants to support innovative and
effective community-based chronic disease prevention and control programs.
And for fiscal year 2004, we have requested $125 million for the "Steps to a
World Asthma Day contributes to the "Steps to a HealthierUS" goals by
increasing public awareness about reducing the impact of asthma. Our
activities on this day and throughout the month will facilitate the dialogue
on asthma and its public health consequences, the reasons for its increased
prevalence, and the association between asthma and the environment
This year, as in the past, your individual participation is critical to
making World Asthma Day a success in your community, while your collective
participation is crucial to decreasing the global effects of asthma.
Therefore, I invite you to join in on May 6th for World Asthma Day 2003 and
help support the cause for a healthier America and a healthier world.
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