Asthma diagnosis, knowledge and awareness among recreational endurance athletes

Derek G. Shendell, Melannie S. Alexander, Lauren Lorentzson, Sarah W. Kelly, Ralph D. Zimmerman, Lynda T. Goodfellow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: Limited research exists on recreational-level competitors regarding asthma and/or comorbidity. The present purpose was to conduct a study in conjunction with the 2008 ING Georgia Marathon and Half-Marathon in Atlanta.Methods: The authors conducted an online secure survey in winter 2008 using PsychData, using previously validated questions from other research and national surveys. Data were summarized from participating recreational athletes on sociodemographic attributes; training locations; participant and family member diagnosis of asthma; and participant knowledge and awareness of signs, symptoms, and management.Results: There were 1151 participants (99.4%) who provided informed consent and then answered the survey (more than 10% of initially registered athletes); 7 athletes (0.6%) did not consent. There were complete data for 1138 participants (98%). Most participants were women (56.2%), white (88.2%), and of a relatively higher socioeconomic status than the general population. Most participants (96.2%) were running either a full marathon (29.8%) or half-marathon (66.4%), as opposed to walking or participating as a wheelchair athlete. About 1 in 8 participants (12.1%) reported physician-diagnosed asthma. Clinically, whereas 84.6% correctly knew that an asthma action plan can prevent hospitalizations due to asthma, only 18% reported that they had such a plan. Moreover, only 24.8% had ever been asked to demonstrate medication use (controller and/or rescue inhaler), and only 2 people performed daily peak flow measurements.Conclusions: In a study of physically active white adults of higher socioeconomic status, 12.1% reported asthma. As such, this study identified the need for potential improvements in asthma management via written asthma action plans and demonstration of peak flow monitoring and medication use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-172
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Asthma and Allergy Educators
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


  • adults
  • asthma
  • asthma action plan
  • asthma education issues
  • endurance athletes
  • recreational runners
  • self-management

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