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J Asthma. 2012 May;49(4):342-8. doi: 10.3109/02770903.2011.652328. Epub 2012 Feb 2.

The association between leisure-time physical activities and asthma symptoms among 10- to 12-year-old children: the effect of living environment in the PANACEA study.

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  • 1Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Harokopio University, Athens, Greece.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study evaluated the interrelationships of living environment, physical activity, lifestyle/dietary habits, and nutritional status on the prevalence of childhood asthma.

METHODS:

In a cross-sectional survey 1125 children (529 boys), 10 to 12 years old, were selected from 18 schools located in an urban environment (Athens, n = 700) and from 10 schools located in rural areas (n = 425) in Greece.

RESULTS:

Children living in Athens had higher likelihood of "ever had" asthma compared with children living in rural areas (odds ratio (OR) = 1.78, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.25-2.54), after adjusting for age and sex. After adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, and adherence to the Mediterranean diet (KIDMED score), leisure-time physical activity was inversely associated with "ever had" asthma. When stratifying by county of residence, a trend toward reduced asthma symptoms among children engaged in outdoor physical activities during their leisure time who reside in rural (but not urban) environment was observed (OR = 0.88, 95% CI = 0.77-1.01).

CONCLUSIONS:

The inverse relationship between asthma symptoms and leisure-time physical activity in the rural environment and the lack of an association between asthma symptoms and organized sports-related activities should draw the attention of public healthcare authorities. Their efforts should focus on the planning of a sustainable natural environment, which will promote the physical health of children and reduce the burden of childhood asthma.

PMID:
22300140
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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