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Title: Which population level environmental factors are associated with asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema? Review of the ecological analyses of ISAAC Phase One
Authors: Asher, M. Innes
Stewart, Alistair W.
Mallol, Javier
Montefort, Stephen
Lai, Christopher K. W.
Ait-Khaled, Nadia
Odhiambo, Joseph
Keywords: Asthma in children
Eczema in children
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: BioMed Central
Citation: Asher, M. I., Stewart, A. W., Mallol, J., Montefort, S., Lai, C. K., Ait-Khaled, N.,...ISAAC Phase I Study Group (2010). Which population level environmental factors are associated with asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema? Review of the ecological analyses of ISAAC Phase One. Respiratory Research, 11(1), 1-10.
Abstract: The International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) Phase One showed large worldwide variations in the prevalence of symptoms of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema, up to 10 to 20 fold between countries. Ecological analyses were undertaken with ISAAC Phase One data to explore factors that may have contributed to these variations, and are summarised and reviewed here. In ISAAC Phase One the prevalence of symptoms in the past 12 months of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema were estimated from studies in 463,801 children aged 13 - 14 years in 155 centres in 56 countries, and in 257,800 children aged 6-7 years in 91 centres in 38 countries. Ecological analyses were undertaken between symptom prevalence and the following: Gross National Product per capita (GNP), food intake, immunisation rates, tuberculosis notifications, climatic factors, tobacco consumption, pollen, antibiotic sales, paracetamol sales, and outdoor air pollution. Symptom prevalence of all three conditions was positively associated with GNP, trans fatty acids, paracetamol, and women smoking, and inversely associated with food of plant origin, pollen, immunisations, tuberculosis notifications, air pollution, and men smoking. The magnitude of these associations was small, but consistent in direction between conditions. There were mixed associations of climate and antibiotic sales with symptom prevalence. The potential causality of these associations warrant further investigation. Factors which prevent the development of these conditions, or where there is an absence of a positive correlation at a population level may be as important from the policy viewpoint as a focus on the positive risk factors. Interventions based on small associations may have the potential for a large public health benefit.
Description: The authors are indebted to the collaborators in the participating centres and all parents, children, teachers and other school staff who participated in the surveys. There are many field workers and funding agencies who supported data collection and national, regional and international meetings, including the meetings of the ISAAC Steering Committee. Unfortunately, these are too numerous to mention (they are acknowledged elsewhere) but the authors particularly wish to thank the funders who supported the ISAAC International Data Centre including the Health Research Council of New Zealand, the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation of New Zealand, the National Child Health Research Foundation, the Hawke’s Bay Medical Research Foundation, the Waikato Medical Research Foundation, Glaxo Wellcome New Zealand and Astra New Zealand, as well as Glaxo Wellcome International Medical Affairs for finding the regional coordinating centres. The International Data Centre is now supported by a grant from the BUPA Foundation.
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