Asthma Hurts Kids' Sleep Quality, Academic Performance

MAY 29, 2013
Daniel Weiss, Senior Editor
Urban elementary school students with poorly controlled asthma tend to produce poorer schoolwork and sleep less well than those whose asthma is well-controlled.

Children with poorly controlled asthma sleep worse and perform worse in school than their peers with well-controlled asthma, according to study results presented at the American Thoracic Society’s 2013 International Conference in Philadelphia.
The study included 170 ethnically diverse children aged 7 to 9 living in the Providence, Rhode Island, area. The children’s asthma symptoms were assessed over 3 30-day periods during the school year using spirometry, which measures the amount of air exhaled in 1 second (FEV1), as well as diaries maintained by children and their caregivers. Asthma control was measured using a questionnaire called the Asthma Control Test. Sleep quality was measured by tracking motor activity at night using a method called actigraphy.
The results of the study today indicate that, based on teacher reports, children with poorly controlled asthma had schoolwork of lower quality and were more careless in their schoolwork compared with peers whose asthma was well-controlled. Careless schoolwork was also associated with poorer sleep quality. In addition, children who struggled to stay awake in class tended to have a more difficult time falling asleep.
“Our findings demonstrate the detrimental effects that poorly controlled asthma may have on two crucial behaviors that can enhance overall health and development for elementary school children; sleep and school performance,” said principal investigator Daphne Koinis-Mitchell, PhD, of Brown University's Alpert Medical School, in a press release. “Urban and ethnic minority children are at an increased risk for high levels of asthma morbidity and frequent health care utilization due to asthma. Given the high level of asthma burden in these groups, and the effects that urban poverty can have on the home environments and the neighborhoods of urban families, it is important to identify modifiable targets for intervention.”

More recent Pharmacy Times coverage of asthma and allergies:
US-Born Children Have More Asthma, Allergies Than Immigrant Peers

Counseling for Asthma
Probiotics During Pregnancy Can Reduce Allergies in Children

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