- In Wisconsin, lifetime asthma prevalence among adults increased from
10.6 percent in 2000 to 13.7 percent in 2009. Current asthma
prevalence increased during the same time period from 8 to 10 percent.
- Adult females have had higher lifetime and current asthma prevalence
than adult males.
- Among Wisconsin adults, the lifetime prevalence of asthma was nearly
twice as high in non-Hispanic African Americans as in non-Hispanic
whites (data aggregated from 2004-2009).
- In 2009, 9.7 percent of children in Wisconsin had been diagnosed
with asthma in the past (lifetime asthma) and 6.9 percent had current
asthma. The prevalence among Wisconsin children appears to be
- Wisconsin boys have higher lifetime asthma prevalence than girls
(11.9 percent vs. 8.3 percent in 2008-2009).
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- In Wisconsin, obese adults had higher current asthma prevalence than
normal weight adults in 2008-2009 (12.0 vs. 8.7 percent). A
significantly higher percent of obese females reported having current
asthma (15.3 percent), compared to both normal weight (9.0) and
overweight (8.9) females. Among all obese adults, women reported
significantly higher current asthma prevalence than men (15.3 vs. 9.2
- In 2008-2009, Wisconsin adults with the least formal education
reported the highest current asthma prevalence (13.1 percent),
compared to adults with a college education (8.7 percent), although
the difference was not significant.
- Adults with the lowest annual household income in 2008-2009 (less
than $15,000) reported the highest asthma prevalence (17.7 percent).
- The prevalence of current asthma is slightly higher among adults who
currently smoke (12.0 percent) than those who are "former"
(9.2 percent) or "never" (8.8 percent) smokers in 2008-2009,
although these differences were not significant.
- Public middle and high school students in 2008 and 2010 who reported
living with a smoker also reported a slightly higher lifetime
prevalence of asthma than those who indicated that they did not live
with a smoker.
- Exposure to indoor environmental triggers varied among adults and
children with current asthma (data from 2006-2009). For example, many
adults and children reported having carpeting or rugs in their bedroom
(72.2 and 68.5 percent, respectively). Over half of adults and
children with current asthma reported allowing pets inside their home
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- One-fourth of adults with current asthma reported being unable to
carry out their usual activities because of their asthma during the
last month; approximately half of all children with asthma reported
missing one or more school days in the past year due to asthma
- While a greater percentage of adults with current asthma were taught
to recognize asthma symptoms (68.1 percent), what to do during an
attack (77.3 percent) and how to use an inhaler (96.5 percent), only
30.6 percent of adults and 53.2 percent of children indicated that
their doctor or other health care provider gave them an asthma action
- Over half of the adults with current asthma reported using a rescue
medication in the last three months, while less than 40 percent
reported using a long-term controller medication.
- Only 37.3 percent of schools reported having an asthma action plan
on file for all students with asthma, according to Wisconsin SHP data.
- Adults with current asthma perceived their health status as fair or
poor (21.1 percent) significantly more often than adults without
asthma (11.1 percent).
- Adults with current asthma reported diagnoses of asthma
comorbidities, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (24.1
percent) and depression (26.0 percent).
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Insurance Status and Cost of Care
- From 2006 to 2009, approximately 7.5 percent of adults with asthma
did not have health insurance coverage, whether through commercial or
- Almost 10 percent of adults with asthma could not afford asthma
medications at some point in the last year.
Hospital Emergency Department Visits
- In 2009, there were 21,023 ED visits for asthma, costing over $23
- In Wisconsin, the overall rate of asthma ED visits per 10,000
population remained steady from 37.4 in 2006 to 38.8 in 2009.
- By age, Wisconsin children 0-4 have the highest asthma ED visit
rates at 72.2 visits per 10,000 in 2009.
- The five counties with the highest rates of asthma ED visits per
10,000 population for 2007-2009 were Milwaukee (81.6), Menominee
(68.8), Kenosha (55.6), Racine (55.4) and Sawyer (49.8).
- In 2009, there were a total of 5,356 hospitalizations in Wisconsin
for which asthma was the principal diagnosis, costing an average of
$11,791 per hospitalization.
- Over the past fifteen years there has been a general decline in
Wisconsin asthma hospitalization rates. Rates decreased from 12.0
hospitalizations per 10,000 in 1995 to 9.4 hospitalizations per 10,000
- Children aged 0-4 years had the highest asthma hospitalization rate
at 21.6 per 10,000 in 2009.
- Asthma hospitalization rates in Wisconsin are five times higher in
African Americans than whites (37.1 versus 6.9 per 10,000 in 2009).
- Milwaukee County (18.0) and Menominee County (16.6) experienced the
highest county-specific rates of asthma hospitalizations per 10,000
population in Wisconsin from 2007-2009.
- Hospitalizations and ED visits in which asthma was identified as the
primary diagnosis vary seasonally, with the highest number of visits
occurring in the fall.
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Wisconsin Medicaid Program
- The rate of asthma hospitalizations within the Medicaid population
between 2007 and 2009 was over three times greater than the rate of
hospitalizations among the general population in Wisconsin during the
same time period.
- Between 2007 and 2009, the rate of asthma ED visits for children
under 5 years of age was the highest, compared to the rates for older
children and adults. Approximately 1.5 percent of all Medicaid
recipients had an ED visit for asthma annually.
- Approximately 73 percent of Wisconsin Medicaid recipients 5 to 56
years old with persistent asthma received appropriate medication for
long-term control of asthma from 2007 to 2009.
Wisconsin WIC Program
- The prevalence of asthma among all women in the WIC program in
October 2010 was 2.4 percent and was higher among pregnant women than
postpartum women (2.6 vs. 2.2 percent); African American pregnant and
postpartum women had higher asthma prevalence than white women.
- Exposure to risk factors for asthma (smoking tobacco, environmental
tobacco smoke (ETS), obesity and depression) was associated with
higher asthma prevalence in both pregnant and postpartum women.
- The prevalence of asthma among children under 5 years in the WIC
program was 2.8 percent; African American children had an asthma
prevalence that was three times higher than that of white children
(6.0 vs. 2.1 percent).
- Exposure to ETS was associated with higher asthma prevalence in
children, compared to children without the exposure (3.4 vs. 2.8
- Being overweight at 24 months of age or older was associated with
higher asthma prevalence than children who were not overweight (4.0
vs. 2.7 percent).
- Ever having been breastfed was associated with lower asthma
prevalence, compared to the prevalence of children who were never
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- Between 2000 and 2008 there were approximately 70 deaths per year in
Wisconsin for which asthma was the underlying cause. Additionally, an
average of 165 deaths per year during this time period listed asthma
as a contributing cause of death.
- Over the past decade, there has been a general decline in asthma
mortality in Wisconsin from 15.7 deaths per million in 2000 to 9.3
deaths per million in 2008.
- The six year age-adjusted mortality rates from 2003-2008 showed that
African Americans were 4 times more likely to die of asthma than
whites (39.7 vs. 9.7 per million).
- The crude number of deaths and age-adjusted asthma mortality rates
in Wisconsin each year between 2003 and 2008 were higher among females
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- According to data from the Wisconsin BRFSS Asthma Callback Survey
(2006-2009), the prevalence of work-related asthma (WRA) ranged from
8.4 percent (doctor diagnosed WRA) to 34.8 percent (asthma aggravated
by previous job).
- Combining doctor-diagnosed and self-identified WRA resulted in an
estimate of 14.0 percent.
- In a survey of Wisconsin workers who had been medically evaluated to
wear a respirator, 17 percent of workers were diagnosed with asthma by
a medical professional (22 percent of those with asthma were diagnosed
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- Wisconsin met the HP2010 target goal for asthma mortality rates in
three of five age groups, including 5-14 years, 35-64 years and 65
years or older. While asthma mortality rates have decreased slightly
from the baseline values in age groups 0-4 years and 15-34 years, they
remain higher than the HP2010 target rates.
- Wisconsin asthma hospitalization rates were lower than HP2010
targets for all age groups except 65 years or older.
- Within all age strata, Wisconsin met HP2010 ED visit rate target
- Wisconsin did not meet the target (2 days) for reducing the number
of school/work days missed by persons with asthma due to asthma.
- With respect to the proportion of adults with asthma who received
formal patient education, Wisconsin did not meet the target of 30
- Only one of four components related to increasing the proportion of
persons with asthma who receive appropriate asthma care according to
NAEPP guidelines met the HP2010 target (more than 73 percent of
persons with asthma received education about recognizing early signs
and symptoms of asthma episodes and how to respond appropriately).
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For more detailed asthma statistics, please see the
Burden of Asthma in
Wisconsin 2010 (PDF, 8.0 MB)
Statistics on Health (WISH) gives you information about health
indicators (measures of health) in Wisconsin.
PDF: The free Adobe Reader®
software is needed to view and print portable document format (PDF) files.
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December 28, 2012