Helping students take control of their breathing for World Asthma Day

Making school an easier place to play and breathe

TORONTO, May 2, 2017 /CNW/ - In Ontario, more than two million people – including one in five children – now live with asthma, a chronic inflammatory lung disease, which can be fatal.

The Lung Association and its partner, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, have developed an innovative after school program, Play for All, to help tackle the challenge of physical activity among students with asthma.

Students who have asthma often see the disease as a barrier to being physically active. There is growing evidence that shows activity levels among children and youth with asthma are lower than their peers without asthma.

"Poorly controlled asthma can limit a child's ability to play, exercise and sleep – all critical to his or her development. Uncontrolled asthma can also lead to a child withdrawing from physical activity and sport. When asthma is well managed and well controlled, however, children who have asthma should be able to participate fully in all activities," says George Habib, President and CEO of The Lung Association – Ontario.

Open to students from grades 1 to 6, with or without asthma, Play for All combines education on lung health, asthma awareness and the importance of physical activity. Students have a hands-on experience with more than 20 lung health activities over a 12 week period. They also have the opportunity to engage family and friends in what they are learning.

By involving students who do not suffer from asthma, Play for All is able to create empathy among them. Netonia Henry-Grant, a student at Cecil B Stirling School, noticed a friend of hers coughing on the playground one cold day. She remembered that cold weather is an asthma trigger so she lent her scarf to her friend and told her to keep it over her mouth and nose.

Play for All helps students take control of their breathing by teaching self-management skills, promoting physical activity and fundamental movement skills, and offering a safe and supportive exercise environment.

The Lung Association also offers free student asthma management resources that are available online at on.lung.ca or by calling The Lung Association Lung Health Information Line at 1-888-344-LUNG (5864).

About The Lung Association – Ontario
Breathing. It's what unites us. It's what inspires us. And it's what keeps us pushing ahead, whether it's searching for cures to lung diseases, helping people to quit smoking and ensuring that children never start, or fighting for clean air.

The Lung Association is the leading organization working to promote lung health and prevent and manage lung disease.  We do this by funding vital research, pushing for improved treatments and better policies, and helping people manage their health.

SOURCE The Ontario Lung Association

For further information: Media Contact: Monica Kocsmaros, Director of Marketing and Communications, The Lung Association, mkocsmaros@on.lung.ca, 647-293-9911

RELATED LINKS
www.on.lung.ca

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