The rate of children in New Zealand having medicated asthma is the lowest it has been in about a decade.
But a high number of Māori and Pasifika children aged between 2 and 14 years old continue to suffer from the condition; with new research showing they are more likely to have medicated asthma compared to youngsters from other backgrounds.
Statistics from the Ministry of Health, analysed by the Environment Health Intelligence NZ, show the prevalence of medicated asthma has declined in children in that age group - with 11.9 per cent (an estimated 101,000 children) diagnosed and treated for asthma in 2020-21.
That rate is the lowest it has been since 2011-12.
High rates of medicated asthma among Māori and Pasifika
However, the statistics also show Māori children's prevalence of medicated asthma is 16.6 per cent, or an estimated 38,000 children.
For Pasifika youngsters, that rate is 16.4 per cent, or 18,000 children.
EHINZ senior intelligence analyst Helene Marsters highlighted a trend of asthma prevalence seen in Māori children over the last 10 years.
She said research showed that group to be the most inconsistent of all children.
"While the other ethnic groups were shown to have relatively stable prevalence rates of medicated asthma over the years, the rates for Māori children have been shown to fluctuate from 2011 to 2021."
The figures also did not appear to show a significant difference in asthma prevalence among children when taking into account other factors such as neighbourhood socio-economic deprivation.
"But boys are more likely to suffer from medicated asthma than girls."
The rate of Kiwi children with asthma is also high when compared to other countries around the world. Between 2011 and 2018, a total of 26 children in New Zealand died from the condition.
"Poor environment conditions have been linked to increased risk of asthma in children, including second-hand smoke exposure, indoor dampness and mould, and transport-related air pollution."
The ministry's research also showed those children who identified as being Asian were less likely to have medicated asthma than non-Asian children.
Meanwhile, the Canterbury District Health Board was recorded as having the lowest rate of medicated asthma in the 2017 to 2020 period, with the least number of children to have the condition compared to those living in other parts of Aotearoa.