Regional variations in risk factors for asthma in school children

Regional variations in risk factors for asthma in school childrenAsthma is a multifactorial disease, which is known to be associated with both personal and environmental factors. However, these relationships have been inconsistent among studies. Reasons behind these inconsistencies could be due to differences in study method, but could also be due to differences in local factors. Geographical variation in asthma prevalence has been reported both among and within countries. Several studies have examined the risk factors for asthma in multiple communities, with overall associations being the major interest. Few studies, however, have considered the associations between various indoor exposures and asthma by community. The identification of community-specific exposures to environmental factors and their associations with asthma could lead to the better implementation of local programs to help reduce asthma morbidity.
In 2000, we conducted a survey of children’s respiratory health in two communities located in southern Saskatchewan (Estevan and Swift Current), and reported a significantly higher prevalence of asthma in Estevan (21.4%) than in Swift Current (16.2%). Girls in Estevan had a significantly higher asthma prevalence than girls in Swift Current, and a similar prevalence to that of boys in Swift Current. These differences in asthma prevalence were not supported by differences in diagnostic labelling for asthma — asthma inhalers. The purpose of the current analysis was to investigate personal and indoor environmental characteristics in Swift Current and Estevan that may be associated with reported physician-diagnosed asthma in students in grades 1 to 6, and to examine whether these associations are different by town.

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