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Can schools promote the health of children with asthma?

By Jenny M. Mcwhirter, Donna C. McCann, Helen Coleman, Marguerite Calvert and John O. Warner

Abstract

This report describes the evaluation of a whole-school intervention to improve morbidity and psychosocial well-being in pupils with asthma. In all, 193 children with asthma (7–9 years) from 23 primary/junior schools in the south of England participated. Schools (n = 12) randomly assigned to the intervention group (IV) received a staff asthma training session, advice on asthma policy and practice and an emergency ?2-agonist inhaler with spacer. Pupils participated in an asthma lesson. Staff and pupils in non-intervention (NI) schools (n = 11) received no asthma-oriented input. While wheeze reports improved for all children with asthma, only the IV group showed lower requirement for medication (P = 0.01), clinically significant improvement (P < 0.05) in activity related quality of life (QOL) and increased self-esteem (SE: social P = 0.01; athletic P = 0.05; behaviour P = 0.001) in girls. SE decreased for NI girls but there was no change for non-asthmatic peers in NI or IV schools which had similar baseline levels of SE and QOL. There was a marginal improvement in the establishment of asthma policies/practices and no change in school absence or staff knowledge. The significantly increased peer group understanding of asthma seen in the intervention schools may have mediated increased well-being in the IV group. Primary schools are a potentially important context for improving asthma morbidity and psychosocial well-being of children with asthma

Topics: BF
Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.soton.ac.uk:145995
Provided by: e-Prints Soton
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