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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1997 Dec;156(6):1870-5.

Airway function among Inuit primary school children in far northern Quebec.

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Respiratory Epidemiology Unit, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada.


The study of the prevalence and determinants of asthma and allergy in different populations may provide clues to their etiology. We describe airway function and its determinants among Inuit schoolchildren living in far Northern Quebec. We assessed the presence of airways hyperresponsiveness (AHR), defined as a 15% drop in FEV1 with exercise, airflow obstruction, as judged by a reduced FEV1/FVC, and atopy, as evidenced by skin test positivity to inhaled aeroallergens, among 509 Inuit aged mostly from 6 to 13 yr. Smoking by the children (31.9%) and their parents was common, including maternal smoking during pregnancy (79.5%). Atopy was found in only 5.3% of children. Apart from age, there were no significant associations between AHR and any of the determinants examined. Airflow obstruction was present among 7.7% of children and occurred most commonly among children with higher levels of salivary cotinine and in those with four or more lower respiratory illnesses in the first 2 yr of life. Asthma and atopy were uncommon in this population whereas evidence of chronic airflow obstruction was frequently found. Measures to reduce the spread of respiratory infection and prevention of smoking are likely to be of most benefit in improving respiratory health in these isolated communities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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