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Community Preventive Services Task Force Publishes Findings on Home-based Asthma Programs

model home with a magnifying glass in front

Nearly 1 in 12 people in the U.S. have asthma, a number that grows every year and costs $56 billion in medical expenses, missed school and work days, and early deaths (CDC External Web Site Icon). When asthma's symptoms of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing are not controlled, it also reduces a person's quality of life. Controlling asthma requires correct use of medications – and avoiding the "triggers" that cause asthma to flare up.

Home-Based Asthma Prevention that Works

According to the Community Preventive Services Task Force, controlling asthma triggers inside the home -- such as dust, pet dander and cockroaches -- helps prevent asthma symptoms in children and teens. The Task Force published its recommendations and findings in the August 2011 Supplement of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, which also includes the Guide to Community Preventive Services (Community Guide) systematic review of scientific literature on which the Task Force based the following  findings:

  • Children and adolescents -- The Task Force recommends the use of home-based multi-trigger, multicomponent interventions with an environmental focus for children and adolescents with asthma, based on evidence of effectiveness in improving overall quality of life and productivity, specifically: 1) improving asthma symptoms and, 2) reducing the number of school days missed due to asthma.
  • Adults -- The Task Force finds insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of home-based multi-trigger, multicomponent interventions with an environmental focus for adults with asthma based on the small number of studies identified and the mixed results across the outcomes of interest.
  • Economic efficiency -- In addition, based on evidence from studies that assessed both costs and benefits, the Task Force concludes that these interventions provide a good value for the dollars spent on them.

Controlling Asthma Triggers at Home

The Task Force findings address “home-based multi-trigger, multicomponent interventions”, which are steps taken to reduce indoor asthma triggers.  In this review, they involved home visits by trained personnel to conduct two or more of the following:

  • Assessment of the home environment
  • Changing the indoor home environment to reduce exposure to asthma triggers
  • Education about the home environment

Most programs in the review also included one or more of the following non- environmental activities:

  • Training and education to improve asthma self-management
  • General asthma education
  • Social services and support
  • Coordinated care for the asthma client

The Publication

These findings, reviews and related commentaries are published in the August 2011 Asthma Supplement of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine: “Reducing Asthma Morbidity through Home-Based Environmental Interventions: Systematic Reviews, Recommendations from the Community Preventive Services Task Force, and Expert Commentary”. Read a summary of the reviews and Task Force findings on the Community Guide web site and access the full text articles.

More on Asthma

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asthma web page External Web Site Icon for more information, including fact sheets and data.

Scientific Methods

The Community Guide conducts state-of-the-art systematic reviews that: analyze all available scientific evidence on what works to promote health and prevent disease, injury and disability; assess the economic benefits of the interventions found to be effective; and identify critical evidence gaps. Community Guide review teams are led or supported by Community Guide scientists, and include government, academic, policy and practice-based partners.

The Task Force and Community Guide

The Community Preventive Services Task Force -- an independent, nonfederal body of public health and prevention experts -- makes its findings and recommendations based on systematic reviews of scientific literature conducted under the auspices of the Community Guide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides ongoing scientific, administrative and technical support for the Task Force.  The Community Guide is the only sole resource of all Task Force evidence-based recommendations and findings to improve public health and promote safety.

Visit All Community Guide Topics to learn about other Community Guide systematic reviews and resulting Task Force findings.