Socioeconomic status is a risk factor for allergy in parents but not in their children
Article first published online: 7 JUL 2008
Clinical & Experimental Allergy
Volume 30, Issue 12, pages 1740–1745, December 2000
How to Cite
Bergmann, R. L., Edenharter, G., Bergmann, K. E., Lau, S., Wahn, U. and THE MULTICENTER ALLERGY STUDY RESEARCH GROUP (2000), Socioeconomic status is a risk factor for allergy in parents but not in their children. Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 30: 1740–1745. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2222.2000.00927.x
- Issue published online: 7 JUL 2008
- Article first published online: 7 JUL 2008
- Atopic diseases;
- socioeconomic status;
Allergic diseases are more prevalent in affluent countries, which has been attributed to life-style factors. Life-style habits may also differ between socioeconomic (SES) classes. The objective of this paper therefore was to evaluate if SES had an impact on the development of atopic disorders.
A total of 1314 German children were followed-up in an observational birth cohort study to 6 years of age. Parents filled in questionnaires, and had multi-allergen screening tests for sensitization. Indoor allergen concentrations were determined by ELISA. Children were examined regularly up to 6 years, specific serum IgE values were determined by CAP-Rast-Feia.
The risk of aeroallergen sensitization (odds ratio 1.76; 95% CI 1.30–2.37), and the lifetime prevalence of hay fever (2.36; 1.76–3.17), and asthma (1.74; 1.08–2.80), but not of atopic dermatitis (AD: 0.90; 0.54–1.51) was elevated in parents of high compared to low SES. With high SES the risk of smoking in pregnancy (0.35; 0.23–0.51), in the home (0.31; 0.21–0.46), pet ownership (0.37; 0.26–0.55), high mite (0.42; 0.25–0.74), and high cat (0.38; 0.18–0.82) allergen concentration in house dust was reduced, but elevated for breastfeeding over more than 6 months (4.67; 2.9–7.48). In children, even after controlling for other risk factors, only the risk of AD from 3 to 6 years (2.42; 1.42–4.14) was elevated in families with high SES, but not of AD in infancy or of any other atopic disorder.
While parents of high SES have a higher prevalence of inhalative allergies, their favourable life-style prevents the development of atopic disorders in their children, except for AD beyond infancy.