This article is part of MPR‘s coverage of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology annual meeting, taking place in San Francisco, California. Our staff will report on medical research related to asthma, allergy, and other respiratory conditions, conducted by experts in the field. Check back regularly for more news from AAAAI 2019.

SAN FRANCISCO — Asthma may be well-controlled in children with morbid obesity with participation in the Breathmobile program according to findings presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) held February 22-25 in San Francisco.

The Breathmobile is a community-based healthcare delivery system that serves preschool and school-aged children in several states. This retrospective study evaluated 1204 patients who are part of the Children’s Hospital of Orange County, in Orange County, California. More than 50% of the patients had body mass index (BMI) greater than normal (overweight, 22.1%; obese, 24.4%; morbidly obese, 8.3%), and 90.3% were Hispanic (mean age, 7.7 years). Also, most patients were not on asthma controller therapy when they began the Breathmobile program, according to Stanley, P. Galant, MD, the presenting author.

By the third visit, approximately 80% of patients achieved well-controlled asthma, with the exception of patients with morbid obesity whose visit intervals extended beyond 90 days. The probability of emergency visits, hospitalizations, missing school, and exercise limitation was reduced by >50% across all BMI categories, even without improvements in BMI status.

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Dr Galant noted that the success of the Breathmobile program is owed to cultural compatibility (eg, physicians on staff speak languages other than English to better communicate with patients), self-management education, continuity of care, and most importantly, access to care. As he put it, “we go where they are.”  Dr Galant also emphasized the significant role that school nurses play in making the Breathmobile work throughout many communities.

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Galant SP. Can the morbidly obese asthmatic child be well controlled? The Breathmobile program. Presented at: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology annual meeting 2019; February 22-25, 2019; San Francisco, CA. Abstract 599.