• Allergy;
  • epidemiology;
  • risk factor;
  • rhinosinusitis;
  • smoking


Objective To study the prevalence of chronic rhinosinusitis and its risk factors among Canadians.

Study Design Complex survey design incorporating stratification, multiple stages of selection, and unequal probabilities of selection of respondents.

Methods We used the cross-sectional data from 73,364 subjects (34,241 male and 39,123 female subjects) 12 years of age or older who participated in the second cycle of the National Population Health Survey, which was conducted from 1996 to 1997. All these individuals were asked whether they had certain chronic health conditions that had lasted or were expected to last 6 months or longer, including rhinosinusitis.

Results The prevalence of rhinosinusitis was higher in female (5.7%) than in male (3.4%) subjects. The sex difference was consistent across age groups. The prevalence increased with age and leveled off after the age of 60 years. In female but not in male subjects, the prevalence was slightly higher among those living the eastern region or among native Canadians as compared with those living in the central or western regions or immigrants. Cigarette smoking and low income were associated with a higher prevalence of rhinosinusitis in both sexes. The smoking effect was modified by allergy history in male subjects. Rhinosinusitis was more common among subjects with allergy history, asthma, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The prevalence of rhinosinusitis was similar in subjects with or without reporting regular alcohol drinking and exercise.

Conclusion Previous data indicating an increased susceptibility of women to asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, together with the similar finding for rhinosinusitis, suggest that women have a general increase in susceptibility to respiratory tract disease.