|Bay Window : Children and Asthma: Press Release
KQED'S BAY WINDOW Explores The Dramatic Rise In Asthma Rates Among Diverse Groups In "Children And Asthma"
New Documentary Focuses on Causes, Solutions and Prevention for Deadly Disease
Statewide Discussion to Occur through Web Site and Online Forum
San Francisco, CaliforniaAsthma is a debilitating, often terrifying, chronic disease, which has increased at an alarming rate in the United States, more than doubling since 1980 to affect more than five million children. Within this group, economically disadvantaged children of color living in densely populated urban areas are at the highest risk for developing asthma. However, the disease cuts across all socioeconomic and geographic boundaries, leading to the death of 600 American children each year across the country.
"Children and Asthma," the latest installment of KQED's award-winning documentary series Bay Window, examines the reasons for the dramatic increase nationwide of childhood asthma rates over the last 20 years. This one-hour documentary, which will also be broadcast in Spanish on the Second Audio Program, looks at the cause and effects of asthma, while concentrating on education as the most important aspect of controlling the environmental triggers.
Premiering Friday, November 1 at 9 p.m. on KQED Public Television 9 and airing on public television stations around the state, Bay Window "Children and Asthma" includes personal stories from children and their families living in the Bay View/Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco, Harlem and The Bronx in New York City and in central Iowa farm country, all of whom are suffering from the effects of this terrible illness. Viewers also hear from leading physicians and scientists in asthma studies and educators who are working with children and families to lessen the effects of asthma in their homes. "Children and Asthma" presents evidence that controlling environmental causes and educating families about asthma can help save children's lives.
"We wanted to show that asthma is not just the problem of those who suffer from it. Asthma is everyone's problem," said filmmaker Irving Saraf. "The causes are not only in our homes, they are in the air we breathe, the schools we attend, the land we farm and the neighborhoods we live in. However, in the program, we highlight examples of proactive steps that everyone can take to lessen the effects of this disease."
Viewers are given an intimate look into the lives of children who are suffering daily from the effects of asthma and their families, educators and community activists who are working to minimize the effects of the illnesses. Viewers are introduced to Veronica Lightfoot, a school counselor and asthma educator in San Francisco who is brought into an elementary school in the Bay View/Hunters Point neighborhood to talk to a kindergarten class about what asthma is and how to control it. Lois Gibbs of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, best known for her tireless work to clean up the Love Canal toxic site in Niagara Falls, New York, talks about the pesticides and other chemicals that schools routinely use as a major contributing cause of asthma among school children. She urges families to get involved in their communities and take an interest in what chemicals their kids are being exposed to.
Viewers are also introduced to several physicians and researchers from around the country who are working hard to identify and control the contributing factors to asthma in children. Joel Kline, MD from the University of Iowa College of Medicine has been studying the environmental causes of asthma and found that in rural areas of Iowa up to 25 percent of children are suffering from asthma caused by exposure to grain dust and toxins in animal waste. Richard Jackson, MD, MPH of the Centers for Disease Control describes the effects of automobile emissions and smog on asthma sufferers. He discusses the results of a study that took place during the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, which found that despite the doubling of the population of Atlanta during the month that the Olympics took place, the number of people who went to emergency rooms for treatment for asthma dropped by 40 percent due to fewer automobiles on the road and increased use of public transportation.
KQED's commitment to community involvement will continue with the "Children and Asthma" Web site and community outreach program. The Web site will offer extensive information and resources on asthma. In addition to the program being broadcast in both Spanish and English, many parts of the Web components and community engagement activities will be bilingual. More information is available online at kqed.org/baywindow, beginning October 1, 2002.
Bay Window "Children and Asthma" is a co-production of KQED Public Television 9 in San Francisco and Light-Saraf-Evans Productions. Allie Light, Irving Saraf and Nancy Evans are producers. The executive producer for Bay Window is Sue Ellen McCann, and associate producer is Elizabeth Pepin.
Bay Window, currently in its fifth season, is an Emmy Award-winning series exploring issues that affect our lives in the Bay Area and reflect civic life nationwide. Through television, print, the Web, and outreach programs, the series engages people in dialogue, convenes critical stakeholders, and builds new connections within our communities.
"Children and Asthma" is underwritten by The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation, with additional funding from The David B. Gold Foundation and The San Francisco Foundation. Please visit kqed.org/baywindow for a complete list of funders for this program. The Bay Window series is underwritten by The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation.
KQED operates KQED Public Television 9, the nation's most watched public television station, and Digital Television 9, Northern California's only public television digital signal; KQED Public Radio 88.5 FM, the most listened to public radio station in the nation; the KQED Education Network, which brings the impact of KQED to thousands of teachers, students, parents, and media professionals through workshops, seminars, and resources; and kqed.org, which harnesses the power of the Internet to bring KQED to communities across the Web.