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J Asthma. 1999 Dec;36(8):677-90.

Prevalence of asthma and other childhood allergies in Brazilian schoolchildren.

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Escuela de Saude de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.


We determined the prevalence of asthma, rhinitis, and eczema among Brazilian children using the standardized protocol of the International Study on Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) to facilitate the comparison of our results with other studies using the ISAAC methodology. We conducted a cross-sectional study from June to October 1994 to determine the prevalence of asthma, rhinitis, and eczema in 5182 school children aged 7-8 years and 13-14 years residing in the Brazilian towns of Santa Maria and Itabira (iron-mining cities located in Minas Gerais). Parents completed questionnaires at their child's school in the presence of trained interviewers. The cumulative prevalence of doctor-diagnosed asthma was 4.6% for all ages with no significant difference between the age groups. In general, there was a higher prevalence of symptoms in the younger age group than the older. The prevalence of wheezing in the previous 12 months was 14.3% (7-8 years old) and 9.3% (13-14 years old) (p < 0.01), of chronic cough in the previous 12 months was 25.6% (7-8 years old) and 22.1% (13-14 years old) (p < 0.01), and of nighttime cough in the previous 12 months was 22.3% (7-8 years old) and 19.4% (13-14 years old) (p < 0.05). Overall the prevalences of asthma and wheezing symptoms in the previous 12 months were higher for boys than girls (5.2% vs. 3.9% for asthma, p < 0.01, and 13.2% vs. 10.6% for wheezing, p < 0.01, respectively). These results suggest that asthma-related respiratory illnesses affect a substantial part of the childhood population in Itabira and Santa Maria, Minas Gerais. Some factors such as male gender and younger age may be associated with an increase risk for chronic respiratory symptoms. Prevalences of asthma and allergic diseases in these Brazilian cities on the basis of self-reporting of symptoms and of one's medical history may more accurately portray the true prevalence of asthma than the use of medical records.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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