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Am J Hum Biol. 2008 Nov-Dec;20(6):716-25. doi: 10.1002/ajhb.20804.

Factors affecting the development of lung function in Tunisian children.

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Faculté de Médecine de Sousse, Laboratoire de Physiologie et des Explorations Fonctionnelles, Université de Sousse, Sousse, Tunisie.


We undertook to evaluate the impacts of morphology at birth, physical activity, anthropometric, socioeconomic and environmental factors on lung function in healthy Tunisian children. Pulmonary function parameters were measured with a Minato portable spirometer in a randomized population of 756 healthy children (388 males and 368 females) aged between 6 and 16. The morphology at birth, the gestational age, the physical activity, the socioeconomic status, the type of habitation, and the environmental factors were all assessed by a standard questionnaire. Using univariate analysis, we found that: (1) morphometric parameters (height, weight, maximal inspiratory, and expiratory perimeter), as well as sex were highly associated with pulmonary function parameters; (2) Height at birth showed strong significant relations with FVC, FEV(1), and FEV(1)/FVC; (3) lung function parameters were influenced by physical training of our children, socioeconomic status, indoor pollution, and passive smoking; and (4) we did not observe any association between the gestational age and the weight at their birth and lung function parameters. Using a general linear model analysis, morphometric parameters, age, sex, type of heating, and maximal inspiratory and expiratory perimeters had significant relation with respiratory parameters. In our population of healthy Tunisian children, the main predictive factors of the pulmonary development were the morphological factors such as height, weight, maximal inspiratory, and expiratory thoracic perimeter, sex and age, and the environmental conditions such as type of heating but not morphology at birth, physical activity, or socioeconomic status.

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