NZ's asthma figures 'shocking'

  • 03/05/2016

A respiratory expert says World Asthma Day is an opportunity to highlight what he says are New Zealand's shocking asthma statistics.

Dr Tristram Ingham from the Respiratory Foundation says one in seven Kiwi children have asthma, and one in nine adults.

It is one of the highest rates in the world, and the respiratory condition costs New Zealand more than $800 million a year.

"To be honest we don’t understand why we have such higher rates," he says.

"But more concerning is we don't seem to be responding to the high rates that we have."

Statistics show Maori, Pacific peoples and low-income families are three times more likely to be hospitalised by asthma.

"Asthma has one of the highest social gradients, meaning it's most susceptible to those who have lower socio-economic backgrounds -- those who are the most vulnerable in our communities."