Imagine trying to catch your breath through a soda straw. Now imagine learning to read at the same time. That's the challenge of asthma, the #1 health-related reason that children nationwide miss school.
Asthma Free School Zone (AFSZ) is a project of Real World Foundation, a NYS 501(c)3 non-profit organization since 2003. The AFSZ serves nearly 150 NYC schools and their surrounding communities by designating school zones with special signage; conducting environmental assessments and ambient air sampling; providing asthma and environmental health information to school and community members. Learn about joining the NYC program. The program won the top Excellence award in Children's Environmental Health from the US EPA in 2005. Learn about AFSZ history.
The AFSZ Difference
AFSZ is not just another asthma program. rather than just management of existing asthma, it aims for prevention of asthma: inhibiting the development or worsening of asthma by identifying and acting on health risks in the school microenvironment.
Education: Underpinning the AFSZ program is the idea that education is key to all behavioral change, and with the right changes in knowledge, and in turn, attitude and practice, a school can manage asthma.
Research: When setting out to solve a public health problem there are three questions to ask: Is there a problem? Will it affect me or someone near me? What can be done about it? AFSZ air quality (AQ) research aims to answer the first question, Is there a problem?
Advocacy: Rather than reinvent the no-idling wheel school-by-school, AFSZ has been instrumental in pushing for and helping shape NYC and NYS idling policy where there was previously none and/or where it was on-the-books but routinely ignored. Our policy focus this year will be Point-of-Sale: reducing marketing and access to tobacco products near schools--a serious problem since 9/20 addicted adult smokers started before their 19th birthday.