Lung disease affects all populations, but diverse communities in New York City and throughout the United States are disproportionately affected by specific lung diseases such as asthma, tuberculosis, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Risk factors such as genetic predisposition, poor living conditions, and unequal access to healthcare and medications contribute to these trends, according to the American Lung Association State of Lung Disease in Diverse Communities 2007 report.
Key findings of the report include:
- Asthma is most prevalent among Puerto Ricans living in the U.S. and inner city African Americans.
- Non-whites are disproportionately exposed to hazardous air pollution. One study found that in 2002, 71 percent of African Americans lived in counties that violated federal air pollution standards, compared to 58 percent of the White population. Another report found that in 2004 more than 19 million, or 50 percent, of Hispanics lived in areas that violated the federal air pollution standard for ozone.
- Occupational asthma is the most prevalent occupational lung disease in the U.S., and Hispanics are more likely to be employed in high-risk occupations than any other racial or ethnic group, setting the stage for Hispanics to be overexposed to respiratory hazards.
- While African Americans are less likely to develop or die from COPD, they have more emergency room visits and similar disease severity compared to whites who have smoked cigarettes over a longer period of time and are heavier smokers.
- African Americans are more likely than any other racial or ethnic group to develop and die from lung cancer although they have lower overall exposure to tobacco smoke.
For further information and to view the complete report.
On August 15th, 2007 twenty-eight children were awarded their certificates of accomplishment as asthma “experts” at the SuperKids Summer Experience end of program celebration, held at the Pelham Fritz Recreational Center at Marcus Garvey Park in Central Harlem. The newly-graduated SuperKids performed skits to showcase their newly acquired knowledge of asthma management before counselors, ALACNY staff, family and friends. The evening was capped off with pizza and a trip to a nearby bowling alley. Thanks again to Harlem Hospital, New York City Parks & Recreation, Robin Hood Foundation and Vornado Realty Trust for making this program possible.
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