CDC Report Provides Workforce-related Asthma Information by State

Workers in the health care and social services sector reported some of the highest rates of asthma, according to new data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

The CDC’s study, featured in the December 2, 2016, edition of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, notes that we’ve long understood that workplace factors may play a role in asthma. “Up to 48% of adult current asthma might be related to work and could potentially be prevented. Asthma prevalence is higher among adults working in certain industries and occupations.”

Relying on data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Asthma Call-back Survey, researchers collected information from 21 states on adults age 18 and older who were employed or had been out of work for less than 12 months. Such information allowed for new state-to-state comparisons.

For example, in 20 of the 21 states, the industry category “health care and social assistance” was identified among the five industries with the highest current asthma prevalence. Specific occupations with the highest current asthma prevalence were: retail trade (in 16 states); office and administrative support (in16 states); health care practitioners (in 15 states); education (in 14 states); and sales (in 13 states).

This information will hopefully help shape the identification and assessment of “workers for new-onset or work-exacerbated asthma who could benefit from work-related asthma prevention and education programs.”

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