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Asthma hospitalizations down for kids in Newfoundland and Labrador

A physician with the West End Medical Centre on Prince Street is on unexpected medical leave and has closed his practice for an unknown period of time.
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Over the past decade, asthma hospitalization rates for children and youth are down by 54 per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).

Rates of asthma hospitalization for children and youth have been dropping steadily for the past 10 years, said the CIHI, which is an independent, not-for-profit organization that provides data and information on Canada’s health systems and the health of Canadians.

Socio-economic factors such as poverty, household education level and urban/rural living affect hospitalization rates for asthma.

In 2015-16, asthma hospitalization rates in Newfoundland and Labrador were 2.8 times higher for children and youth in the lowest-income neighbourhoods compared with those in the highest-income neighbourhoods, the CIHI said.

Asthma hospitalization rates in Newfoundland and Labrador were about five times higher for children and youth living in households in which the highest level of education was less than high school, compared with those living in households in which the highest level of education was a master’s degree or doctorate.

Among the national findings, asthma hospitalization rates for children and youth in Canada have decreased by about 50 per cent over the past 10 years.

Throughout the past decade, these hospitalization rates have remained about 1.5 times higher for those in the lowest-income neighbourhoods compared with those in the highest-income neighbourhoods.

The province with the highest asthma rate is P.E.I.

Ontario, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories were also higher than the national average.

“Asthma affects thousands of families across the country, so it’s extremely encouraging to see asthma hospitalization rates drop significantly for Canada’s children and youth,” Kathleen Morris, CIHI vice-president of research and analysis, stated said in a news release.

“Our youngest patients are seeing the most dramatic reduction. That said, the data does tell us there’s room for improvement in hospitalization rates for children and youth who come from households that have lower education levels and lower income levels.”

Approximately 15 per cent of children and youth in Canada were living with asthma in 2013–14. The age range for the data was less than one to 19.

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