November 18, 2015
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Socioeconomic factors affect development of childhood asthma

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Children with a low socioeconomic position appeared more likely to develop asthma during childhood, according to study results.

However, they were less likely to develop atopy.

“The inequality in the rates of asthma alone among poor children and the overall burden of this disease phenotype can be prevented by eliminating exposure to tobacco smoke throughout the life course, including in utero,” Bruna Galobardes, MD, MPH, of University of Bristol School of Social and Community Medicine in Oakfield Grove, United Kingdom, and colleagues wrote. “The inequality in rates of atopy alone among well-off children remains complex, with hygiene hypothesis variables as the main mediators. Understanding the life-course development of atopy — and whether specific versus generic sensitization results in different atopic symptoms and asthma risk over the life course — is likely to shed light into its disease mechanism and mediating exposures.”

Galobardes and colleagues evaluated 6,378 patients who were part of the Awon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children birth cohort. Study participants were born between 1991 and 1992 and visited the study center between ages 7 years and 8 years to determine whether asthma, atopy, altered lung function, wheezing or bronchial reactivity phenotypes were affected by socioeconomic patterns.

The researchers found that the greatest socioeconomic variation occurred in children who had been diagnosed with both atopy and asthma. Compared with children in a high socioeconomic position, children in a low socioeconomic position had a higher rate of asthma (adjusted OR = 1.5, 95% CI, 1.21-1.87) but a lower rate of atopy (adjusted OR = 0.8; 95% CI, 0.66-0.98).

Galobardes and colleagues noted that the reduction of tobacco smoke during pregnancy and childhood reduced the risk for developing asthma for children with a low socioeconomic position. – by Jeff Craven

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.

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