Logo of bmjLink to Publisher's site
BMJ. 1992 Apr 4; 304(6831): 873–875.
PMCID: PMC1882832

Respiratory symptoms and atopy in Aberdeen schoolchildren: evidence from two surveys 25 years apart.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE--To estimate changes in the prevalence of respiratory symptoms and the reported diagnoses of asthma, eczema, and hay fever in primary school children in Aberdeen between 1964 and 1989. DESIGN--Determination of incidence prevalence and prevalence from survey data. SETTING--Aberdeen, Scotland. PARTICIPANTS--2743 primary school children (aged 8-13) from 1964 and 4003 [corrected] from 1989. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Survey data on whether, according to the parent or guardian, the child wheezed or was troubled with shortness of breath; the number of episodes of breathlessness in the past year; and whether asthma, eczema, or hay fever had ever been diagnosed. RESULTS--Questionnaires were completed by the parents of 2510 children in 1964 and 3403 children in 1989. The prevalence of wheeze rose from 10.4% in 1964 to 19.8% in 1989, and the prevalence of episodes of shortness of breath increased from 5.4% to 10.0%. In both surveys wheeze and shortness of breath were more prevalent in boys than in girls. The reported diagnosis of asthma rose from 4.1% to 10.2%, hay fever from 3.2% to 11.9%, and eczema from 5.3% to 12%. The proportion of boys suffering from eczema rose from 47.7% to 60.0%. Hay fever showed a similar increase, from 49.4% to 60.1%, in boys over the 25 year period. Though the parents of a higher proportion of children with wheeze were aware of the diagnosis of asthma in 1989, because of the increased prevalence of wheeze the absolute number of parents of wheezy children who were not aware of a diagnosis of asthma increased from 7.4% to 9.6% of the population studied. CONCLUSION--The higher diagnosis rate for asthma is due not simply to changes in diagnostic fashion but reflects an increase over the past 25 years in the prevalence of respiratory symptoms, which in turn may reflect a more general change in the prevalence of atopy, the increase in which was particularly noticeable in boys. This increase explains some of the increase in hospital admission rates for children with asthma.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (696K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Anderson HR. Increase in hospital admissions for childhood asthma: trends in referral, severity, and readmissions from 1970 to 1985 in a health region of the United Kingdom. Thorax. 1989 Aug;44(8):614–619. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Fleming DM, Crombie DL. Prevalence of asthma and hay fever in England and Wales. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987 Jan 31;294(6567):279–283. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Burney PG. Asthma mortality in England and Wales: evidence for a further increase, 1974-84. Lancet. 1986 Aug 9;2(8502):323–326. [PubMed]
  • Charlton JR, Velez R. Some international comparisons of mortality amenable to medical intervention. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986 Feb 1;292(6516):295–301. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Mitchell EA, Cutler DR. Paediatric admissions to Auckland Hospital for asthma from 1970-1980. N Z Med J. 1984 Feb 8;97(749):67–70. [PubMed]
  • Halfon N, Newacheck PW. Trends in the hospitalization for acute childhood asthma, 1970-84. Am J Public Health. 1986 Nov;76(11):1308–1311. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Williams H, McNicol KN. Prevalence, natural history, and relationship of wheezy bronchitis and asthma in children. An epidemiological study. Br Med J. 1969 Nov 8;4(5679):321–325. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Peckham C, Butler N. A national study of asthma in childhood. J Epidemiol Community Health. 1978 Jun;32(2):79–85. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Lee DA, Winslow NR, Speight AN, Hey EN. Prevalence and spectrum of asthma in childhood. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983 Apr 16;286(6373):1256–1258. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Dawson B, Illsley R, Horobin G, Mitchell R. A survey of childhood asthma in Aberdeen. Lancet. 1969 Apr 19;1(7599):827–830. [PubMed]
  • Anderson HR. Is the prevalence of asthma changing? Arch Dis Child. 1989 Jan;64(1):172–175. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Hay IF, Higenbottam TW. Has the management of asthma improved? Lancet. 1987 Sep 12;2(8559):609–611. [PubMed]
  • Hill RA, Standen PJ, Tattersfield AE. Asthma, wheezing, and school absence in primary schools. Arch Dis Child. 1989 Feb;64(2):246–251. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Hill R, Williams J, Tattersfield A, Britton J. Change in use of asthma as a diagnostic label for wheezing illness in schoolchildren. BMJ. 1989 Oct 7;299(6704):898–898. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Mitchell EA. Increasing prevalence of asthma in children. N Z Med J. 1983 Jun 22;96(734):463–464. [PubMed]
  • Burr ML, Butland BK, King S, Vaughan-Williams E. Changes in asthma prevalence: two surveys 15 years apart. Arch Dis Child. 1989 Oct;64(10):1452–1456. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Korsgaard J. Preventive measures in hose-dust allergy. Am Rev Respir Dis. 1982 Jan;125(1):80–84. [PubMed]
  • Silver GA. Retirement prospects. Lancet. 1984 Feb 25;1(8374):465–465. [PubMed]
  • Kjellman NI. Atopic disease in seven-year-old children. Incidence in relation to family history. Acta Paediatr Scand. 1977 Jul;66(4):465–471. [PubMed]
  • Gerrard JW, Shenassa M. Sensitization to substances in breast milk: recognition, management and significance. Ann Allergy. 1983 Aug;51(2 Pt 2):300–302. [PubMed]
  • Reinhardt MC, Paganelli R, Levinsky RJ. Intestinal antigen handling at mucosal surfaces in health and disease: human and experimental studies. Ann Allergy. 1983 Aug;51(2 Pt 2):311–314. [PubMed]

Articles from BMJ : British Medical Journal are provided here courtesy of BMJ Group

Formats:

Save items

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...

Links

  • Cited in Books
    Cited in Books
    NCBI Bookshelf books that cite the current articles.
  • MedGen
    MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...