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Report: Poor children in NY twice as likely to have asthma

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Harlem has some of the highest asthma rates in the city. A new report released Friday is giving us a closer look at the chronic lung disease and who is struggling with it.

Asthma is not only deadly but it's costing billions of dollars to treat.

"The state's overall annual asthma bill topped $1.3 billion for medical costs and lost productivity," said state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. He added that $600 million of that was spent on hospitalization costs.

The report states roughly 1.7 million people in the state suffer from asthma. The Bronx and Harlem have some of highest rates among Medicaid recipients.

The report findings were announced at the East Harlem Asthma Center of Excellence. Debbie Turner comes here with her 12-year-old son, Deante, who has the lung disease.

"They manage Deante's asthma, see how many times we go to the emergency room," she said. "Make sure we have the visit every 6 months to the doctor."

The Department of Health is trying to expand its home-based education program to reduce kids from exposure.

"Indoor air is very important less and nice second hand smoke is a big contributor mold can be a real trigger," said Roger Hayes, an assistant commissioner of the Health Department.

The report states children living in poverty are twice as likely to suffer from asthma.

Many of them live near bus depots and transfer stations and there's a push to get them out.

"Part of what we have to do is get these facilities out of concentrated ZIP codes so these people can leads healthy life," said New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer,

DiNapoli pointed out asthma-related deaths dropped 24 percent from 2002 to 2011 statewide and 17 percent in New York City.

Now there is a push for more school awareness programs.

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