Asthma is the most common disease of childhood in the United States (Schwartz, 1999). The US epidemiologic data on asthma underscores its high impact on children, health care institutions, schools, industry, and the economy. Recent studies have shown that it can be associated with impaired lung growth in children and with a decline in lung function in adults (Anonymous, 2000). The fact that asthma is frequently unrecognized or undertreated, especially in low income minority populations emphasizes the need for preventive care and early intervention.
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