Spring into Action with “Breathe Better September 2018”

National respiratory awareness campaign launches

Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ kicks off its Breathe Better September 2018 campaign. This coincided with the first day of spring – 1 September 2018 – when asthma and other respiratory conditions can become an increased risk to sufferers.

Throughout September 2018, this national campaign will help to raise awareness and encourage fundraising to help support those living with a respiratory illness in New Zealand. As it’s the start of spring, the Foundation is reminding people with asthma or a respiratory condition to get prepared for the season ahead.

Asthma and respiratory diseases are two of the leading causes of sickness and death in New Zealand. One in six people have a respiratory disease. It’s the third most common cause of death. Respiratory conditions costs our country over $6B each year. One in seven children have asthma. Based on the severity of these facts, this campaign calls for the whole nation to become actively informed about asthma and other respiratory conditions and to help raise funds for much needed support for those living with these conditions.


Quick facts

• Respiratory disease is New Zealand’s third most common cause of death.
• Respiratory disease costs New Zealand over $6 billion every year.
• One in six (over 700,000) New Zealanders live with a respiratory condition.
• Respiratory disease accounts for one in eight of all hospital stays.
• One in seven children and one in nine adults in New Zealand have asthma.
• It’s estimated that 586,000 school days are lost each year due to asthma related symptoms in children.
• More than half of the people admitted to hospital with a poverty-related condition are there because of a respiratory problem such as asthma, bronchiolitis, acute infection or pneumonia.
• People living in the most deprived households are admitted to hospital for respiratory illness over three times more often than people from the wealthiest areas.
• Across all age groups, hospitalisation rates are much higher for Pacific peoples (2.6 times higher) and Maori (2.1 times higher) than for other ethnic groups (Telfar Barnard et al., 2015).


Teresa Demetriou, Head of Education and Research at Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ, comments: “Every year our campaign gets bigger and bigger. This year we’ve got a whole host of activities around the country to spread the word about asthma and respiratory disease in New Zealand. It’s a sad fact that just too many people are affected by respiratory diseases, and we need to do a lot more work in terms of education, prevention, management and treatment of patients.”

Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ has teamed up with Les Mills Extreme to launch the campaign on Saturday 1 September 2018 with a 12 hour biking challenge ‘Bike for Better Breathing’ event in Wellington. There’s Breathe Better September events taking place around the country in a big awareness drive.

People all over New Zealand are encouraged to take on a personal challenge – the ‘Better Breathing Challenge’ – throughout September to help raise awareness and fundraise. Whether it’s a walk round the block every day for the month, riding your bicycle or a pram walk once a week during September, or challenging yourself to do five minutes of meditation or yoga a day. For more information on the campaign or to register your own fundraising event visit  www.breathebetterseptember.co.nz

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