Changing prevalence of asthma in Taiwanese adolescents: two surveys 6 years apart

Authors

  • Yung-Ling Lee,

    1. Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan
    2. Graduate Institute of Environmental and Occupational Health, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan
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  • Ying-Chu Lin,

    1. College of Dental Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
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  • Bing-Fang Hwang,

    1. Department of Health Care Administration, Diwan College of Management, Tainan, Taiwan
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  • Yueliang Leon Guo

    1. Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan
    2. Graduate Institute of Environmental and Occupational Health, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan
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Yueliang Leon Guo, Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, 138 Sheng-Li Road, Tainan 704, Taiwan
Tel.: +886 6 236 5228
Fax: +886 6 274 3748
E-mail: leonguo@mail.ncku.edu.tw

Abstract

This study compared the prevalence of asthma among Taiwanese adolescents with individual-level risk factors and municipal-level air pollution and meteorology data to determine whether changes in these factors could explain the observed change in prevalence. We conducted two national surveys of respiratory illness and symptoms in Taiwanese middle-school students in 1995–96 and 2001. The effects of personal and environmental factors were assessed and temporal changes of outdoor monitoring data were also compared with asthma prevalence difference. A total of 44,104 children from the 1995–96 survey and 11,048 children from the 2001 survey attended schools located within 1 km of 22 monitoring stations. Lifetime prevalences of physician-diagnosed and questionnaire-determined asthma increased during this period. After adjustment for potential risk factors, the prevalence differences were statistically unchanged. Although parental education level contributed most, changes in investigated personal and environmental factors might not explain the observed changes in asthma prevalence. Municipalities with higher temperature increase were significantly associated with prevalence difference in questionnaire-determined asthma. We concluded that correlates of the investigated individual-level factors, which have changed over time, still underlie changes in asthma prevalence. Increasing temperature might be the main reason for the rising trends of asthma in Taiwanese adolescents.

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