Asthma prevalence and risk factors in school children: The RESPIR longitudinal study

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Julia Alfonso
Santiago Pérez
Ricardo Bou
Ana Amat
Irene Ruiz
Amparo Mora
Silvia Escolano
Laura Chofre


Wheezing, Asthma, Risk factors, Epidemiology


Objectives: To analyze the incidence of wheezing in the first six years of life; the prevalence of asthma at six years of age; and the associated risk factors, in a population from Valencia, Spain.

Methods: A prospective longitudinal study was made of a cohort of 636 newborn infants, with follow-up of the clinical records and the completion of questionnaires up to the age of six years.

Results: The prevalence of asthma at six years of age was 12.8%. Up until that age, 63% of the study population had experienced at least one episode of wheezing, and 35% had suffered recurrent wheezing (three or more episodes). Admission due to wheezing was associated to school asthma. The following risk factors were identified: atopic dermatitis (OR: 2.1; 95%CI: 1.2-3.5), the presence of at least one episode of wheezing in the first year (OR: 1.8; 95%CI: 1.1-2.9), prematurity (OR: 2.5; 95%CI: 1.2-5.1), and a family history of asthma (OR: 2.2; 95%CI: 1.2-4.1).

Conclusions: The prevalence of asthma at six years of age in our population is similar to that described in other longitudinal studies. An important increase is observed in the cumulative incidence of wheezing and of recurrent wheezing up to three years of age, followed by stabilization. The most relevant risk factors for developing asthma at six years were atopic dermatitis, wheezing during the first year, prematurity, and a family history of asthma. Full-term pregnancy and the minimization of respiratory infections at an early age could reduce the prevalence of asthma at six years of age in our population.

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