“According to statistics presented by the National Interview Survey (2010) there are approximately 7.1 million children in the United States who have asthma.” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [USDHHS], Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics [CDCNCHS], 2010). “Asthma is an inflammatory disease that is characterized by airway obstruction and may cause episodes of wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing.” (Walker, 2012). “Studies have shown that these symptoms are difficult to manage in obese asthmatic children as the medications used to treat asthma are less effective on them due to the added weight. This paper summarizes a quantitative study showing that enhanced physical activity and asthma management education can reduce asthmatic symptoms in children.” (Haines & Kim, 2013). It includes introduction, background, methods, results, ethical considerations and conclusion summary of the study.
“Children with asthma are at risk for obesity and resultant severity of the disease due to their reluctance towards physical activity. In order to prevent this risk an educational and activity program was developed for elementary schoolchildren with moderate persistent asthma utilizing a quantitative study design. The introduction of this program resulted in significant improvement in lung conditions and reduction of the number of emergency room visits while potentially reducing the risk of obesity later in life.” (Haines & Kim, 2013). Background of Study
“Reports show that seventy five percent of all children in the United States who need emergent care due to their asthma are overweight. Children with moderate to severe persistent asthma have a higher incidence of also being obese. Obese asthmatics are less responsive to medications used to treat asthma. The reluctance to physical activity is due to the fear of asthma attack with exercise. This leads to obesity and obesity leads to more severe asthma symptoms. In order to break this cycle effective intervention is necessary. The most effective intervention is increased physical activity. Developing and evaluating understanding the mechanisms of asthma control and promoting physical activity in participating asthmatic elementary school-aged children was a pilot program resulting in reduced severity of asthma symptoms which was also the purpose of the study.” (Haines & Kim, 2013). This study is significant for nurses as they take care of children with asthma in clinics and hospitals effectively intervening to improve their health.
Methods of Study
“A quantitative, non-experimental, longitudinal design was used to evaluate a pilot asthma program with emphasis on physical activity in order to improve asthma control among children with moderate persistent asthma. Asthma symptoms, lung condition, and willingness to participate in physical exercise were compared before and one month after the six week asthma program. As a pilot study, this program was an intervention-only program without a control group. The sample was collected from participants of Breathe LA’s Lung Power program with moderate persistent asthma.
Ten children between the ages of seven to twelve years old both males and females who volunteered for the study were selected for a six week asthma program. Barriers to proper asthma management were identified and treated by parental interviews. Introductory and concluding spirometry tests were done to assess the actual improvement in lung volume post program. Physical activity was closely monitored and performed only after sufficient management skills were taught to and reinforced by the participants and parents. Six lessons were prepared and delivered over two hours weekly sessions.” (Haines & Kim, 2013).
Results of Study
“Throughout the six week program the participants’ asthmatic attack rates dropped significantly. Weekly and monthly asthmatic incidences also decreased significantly. Although not statistically significant, emergency room visits dropped after the six week program and the participants also engaged in significantly more physical activities in a given week and month compared to pre-program activities. The spirometry test post-program results showed a slight, but significant increase in lung volume.” (Haines & Kim, 2013).
The implications of this study to nursing are very significant. Being the caregiver to children with asthma in clinics and hospitals nurses can make a huge difference in their lives by sharing the significant findings of the study and incorporating it in their daily care regimen. Teaching proper symptom management and physical activity to parents and children will significantly improve their health.
Ethical Considerations of Study
The authors are affiliated with California State University Fullerton and the study was reviewed by editorial board, blind peer, and expert peer. The study sample was a sub-group of pre-existing participants of the Breathe LA’s Lung Power program. In adherence to the code of ethics for the research study patient privacy was protected through the initial program. Only patients who volunteered were included in the study and the program was held in the Breathe LA facility located in Los Angeles. “Facilitators present throughout the program included a respiratory therapist and volunteer respiratory therapy students.” (Haines & Kim, 2013). Parents were to observe at all times and intervene as appropriate to the study. The article fails to mention approval acquired from an institutional review board. There is a possibility that there may be a blanket consent that covers the research study via the initial Lung Power program which was in accordance to laws in Los Angeles.
“Children with asthma represent a population group more prone to becoming obese than their non-asthmatic counterparts. Understanding the mechanism of what causes asthma and being able to control asthma enough to engage in physical activity is significant. Therefore, future asthma management programs should incorporate more supervised physical exercises. Educators, therapists, nurses, parents and coaches need to understand that moderate physical exercise is a remedy for asthma symptoms, not the cause and should take an active role in providing asthma education for children with moderate persistent asthma. Increasing supervised, moderate physical exercise for these children can reduce asthmatic symptoms and risk for obesity later in life.” (Haines & Kim, 2013).
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics. (2010). Summary health statistics for U.S. children: National Health Interview Survey, 2009. (DHHS Publication No. (PHS)-2011-1575). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr10/sr10247.pdf Walker, V. (2012). Factors Related to Emotional Responses in School-aged Children Who Have Asthma. Issues In Mental Health Nursing, 33(7), 406-429. doi:10.3109/01612840.2012.682327 Haines, M. S., & Kim, D. H. (2013). A Study of the Effects of Physical Activity on Asthmatic Symptoms and Obesity Risk in Elementary School-Aged Children. American Journal Of Health Education, 44(3), 156-161. doi:10.1080/19325037.2013.779905