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Free Content Risk factors for symptoms of childhood asthma, allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema in the Pacific: an ISAAC Phase III study

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BACKGROUND AND METHODS: Phase III of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) was conducted in eight Pacific countries, five of which (Samoa, Fiji, Tokelau, French Polynesia and New Caledonia) collected environmental questionnaire (EQ) data. We report the findings of the EQ analyses below.

RESULTS: The major factors associated with current wheeze were regular margarine consumption (prevalence odds ratio [POR] 1.19, 95%CI 1.01–1.40), paracetamol use (POR 1.35, 95%CI 1.11–1.64), electric cooking (POR 1.42, 95%CI 1.11–1.80), regular exercise (POR 1.44, 95%CI 1.18–1.75) and maternal smoking (POR 1.16, 95%CI 1.01–1.33). Protective factors included having older siblings (two or more POR 0.69, 95%CI 0.58–0.82; one POR 0.86, 95%CI 0.71–1.05), and being born in the country of the survey (POR 0.74, 95%CI 0.63–0.87). Risk factors for rhinoconjunctivitis included regular consumption of meat, butter, margarine and nuts, regular exercise, regular television viewing, paracetamol use and passive smoking. Eczema was associated with regular meat, pasta and butter consumption, regular television viewing, paracetamol use and passive smoking.

CONCLUSIONS: Regular meat and margarine consumption, paracetamol use, electric cooking and passive smoking are risk factors for symptoms of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis and eczema in the Pacific. However, most of these associations were weak, and account for only a small proportion of cases.

Keywords: ISAAC study; Pacific; asthma; epidemiology; risk factors

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Ministry of Health, Nuku'alofa, Kingdom of Tonga; Centre for Public Health Research, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand 2: Department of Epidemiology of Allergic and Respiratory Diseases (EPAR), UMR-S, University Pierre and Marie Curie Paris VI, Paris, France 3: Ministry of Health, Apia, Samoa 4: Ministry of Health, Suva, Fiji Islands 5: Centre for Public Health Research, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand

Publication date: 2008-07-01

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