Swimming program for asthmatic children gets grant

Swimming is less likely than other sports to trigger a child’s asthma.

Stephanie Rogers, president of Swim Kaua‘i Aquatics, said she discovered that through one of the SKA parents who works at a local medical facility and who offered to help SKA raise awareness of the benefits of swimming for asthmatics.

Rogers and SKA coach Billy Brown were on hand Monday morning when the Young Brothers Community Advisory Board presented SKA with a $1,000 grant which will help towards Rogers’ mission of raising awareness of the benefits of swimming for asthmatics.

According to an SKA press release, the swimming group’s objective is to improve the health of children suffering from asthma on our island while giving them the skills to enjoy the water and exercise.

Asthma is the most common chronic pediatric health condition with one in six hospital emergency room visits being for treatment of asthmatic attacks, the release states.

Asthma is the third leading cause of hospitalization in children under the age of 15, and is one of the leading causes of school absenteeism.

In a report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Kaua‘i has the highest prevalence rates of asthma in Hawai‘i. The state has one of the highest rates in the nation, that report states.

The SKA release states that although medicines are key in controlling asthma symptoms, exercise is extremely beneficial, resulting in fewer asthmatic attacks, less wheezing resulting in decreased school absenteeism and reduced hospital visits. Exercise also decreases an asthmatic’s feelings of anxiety and fearfulness.

Swimming has been shown to decrease the severity of asthma symptoms when compared to other lifestyle changes, and may be the most effective nonpharmacological intervention for the child or adolescent with asthma.

Rogers said the YB CAB funds will be used to help Kaua‘i’s youth fighting asthma swim towards better health.

She added that educational materials about asthma and the benefits of swimming will be available at the YMCA facility in Puhi where SKA trains, starting in July.

At that time, information will also be available at the SKA Web site at www.swimkauai.com.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com

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