Environmental factors and asthma and allergy in schoolchildren from Western Australia

Lyle Palmer, I.J. Valinsky, T. Pikora, S.R. Zubrick, Louis Landau

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14 Citations (Scopus)


The association of environmental factors with atopic disease in children remains poorly understood. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between socio-environmental factors and symptoms of asthma and atopy in 6-7-yr-old children assessed as an adjunct to Phase I of the International Study of Asthma and Allergy in Childhood in Perth, Western Australia.Parental questionnaire responses were obtained for 2,193 children (73.6%) in 34 randomly selected primary schools in the Perth metropolitan area.Children born in Australia had a significantly increased risk of current asthma (odds ratio (OR) 237, p=0.001). Having a mother born in Australia was the only factor independently associated with an increased risk of current hay fever (OR 1.56, p=0.005). Increasing numbers of people living in the home were significantly associated with a multiplicative decrease in risk of current asthma (OR 0.88, p=0.03) and eczema (OR 0.82, p=0.01). Houses made of fibrocement (OR 2.40, p=0.02) and the presence of mats on less than half of the floor area in the "main bedroom" (relative to wall-to-wall carpet) (OR 3.50, p=0.003) were associated with an increased risk of current eczema. All reported associations were independent of socioeconomic status (categorized by school), age and sex.This study suggests that household and country-specific environmental factors are associated with asthma, hay fever and eczema risk in 6-7-yr-old schoolchildren, and may have substantially contributed to the increased prevalence of these diseases in Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1351-1357
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Publication statusPublished - 1999


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