Is Johnny wheezing? Parents underestimate burden of asthma experienced by their children

A telephone-based survey was conducted in 2004 among a sample of 280 children (aged 10-15) with current asthma and their parents in the United States.

Parents underestimated the burden of asthma experienced by their children, especially the effects on physical activity:

- More than half (58%) of children replied that exercise was a trigger for their asthma compared to only 35% of parents.

- Children were more likely than parents to mention activity limitations, specifically avoiding physical exertion (63% vs. 49%).

- Prevalence of symptoms was also underreported by parents relative to children, particularly breathing problems (41% vs. 67%) and cough (45% vs. 64%).

- Maintenance therapy use in the past 4 weeks was reported by 35% of children, whereas 44% of parents believed their children had used maintenance therapy).

Parents underestimated avoidance tactics used by their children with asthma, including exercise and physical activity self-limitation to prevent the onset or worsening of asthma symptoms. Parents also underreported asthma symptoms of their children.


Davis KJ, DiSantostefano R, Peden DB. Is Johnny wheezing? Parent-child agreement in the childhood asthma in America survey. Pediatric Allergy Immunology 2011: 22: 31-35.

Complete asthma control is uncommon in children worldwide. Parents underestimate asthma severity, overestimate control. ERJ January 1, 2012 vol. 39 no. 1 90-96.

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