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A third of people with asthma avoid open air exercise

Asthma UK is calling on cities around the world to follow London's lead in reducing air pollution and help people with asthma exercise outdoors safely.

In a recent Asthma UK survey, 76% of people with asthma reported that exercise triggers their asthma (exercise induced asthma). Research has also shown that air pollution affects even professional athletes' performance and can be a trigger for asthma. The two elements combined could increase the risk athletes with asthma face in their attempt to win a medal at this year's Olympics held in Beijing, one of the most polluted cities in the world.

In the 2004 British Olympic squad 20% of the athletes had asthma so this is a serious issue likely to affect a number of athletes in this year's team including Paula Radcliffe, one of Asthma UK's Ambassadors. As Paula demonstrates, there is no reason that people with asthma shouldn't be able to exercise safely under normal circumstances, not being able to control their asthma effectively because of air pollution could mean the difference between an Olympic gold or silver medal for an elite athlete.

Neil Churchill, Chief Executive of Asthma UK, said: "Over a third of people with asthma we surveyed tell us that they avoid exercising in the open air because of traffic fumes and two-thirds find it a trigger for their asthma. We're well aware what a serious problem it can pose to athletes and cannot emphasise enough the need for cities around the world to follow London's lead in reducing levels of air pollution."

Exercise is good for everyone and it is known that regular exercising can improve lung function and support the management of asthma symptoms.

Asthma UK