Prevalence of Asthma is Linked to Growing Urbanisation

November 27, 2020 3 min read

Prevalence of Asthma is Linked to Growing Urbanisation

Shop

The prevalence of asthma around the world is very high, with around 300 million individuals being affected. What are the asthma causes? The prevalence of asthma varies widely between and within different countries around the world - according to the long-running International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood. One factor that seems very important in the prevalence of asthma is whether people live in an urban or rural environment. With countries becoming more developed and more urbanised, asthma will become a more common health problem, especially among children. Two new studies regarding the prevalence of asthma, look at the link between the urban or rural environment and the prevalence of asthma, aiming to reveal just what it is about urbanisation that increases asthma risk. One study carried out in Ecuador, Brazil, and England looked at the prevalence of asthma among children aged 9-15 in small rural communities in one of the poorest and most remote areas. The study used a simple definition of asthma, asking the parent 'Has your child had wheeze in the chest over the last 12 months?' Urbanisation is a complex process – it involves far more than just living in a town or city. In this study, three different aspects of urbanisation were investigated, as follows:

  • Infrastructure – e.g. is there electricity, a telephone network, health centre, school, shops?
  • Socioeconomics – what level of education have the parents, what kind of house does the family live in, do they have a TV or car?
  • Lifestyle – do the kids eat burgers, consume fizzy drinks, do they watch TV, have pets, how physically active are they?

The overall prevalence of asthma was 10% (similar to the prevalence in the UK) and ranged from 0 to 31.4% in the different communities studied. Infrastructure proved to be less influential as a factor in the prevalence of asthma than a socioeconomic level or lifestyle. Cooking with gas, for example, increased the risk of asthma. So did eating fast food and drinking sodas and having a sedentary lifestyle. The researchers point out that these factors are associated with increased prevalence of asthma, but do not necessarily cause the disease. In the second study, researchers in Peru and the United States compared the prevalence of asthma in adolescents in a suburb of the capital, Lima, and in a rural area. Peru, incidentally, has one of the highest prevalences of asthma in the world. The participants had their respiratory function tested, asthma diagnoses checked, and rates of eczema and atopy were also recorded. Those in Lima had 2-3 times higher prevalence of asthma than those in the rural area. They also had a higher prevalence of eczema and atopy and were more likely to report symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Levels of PM2.5 indoor pollution were higher in Lima (31 micrograms per cubic metre, compared to 13 micrograms per cubic metre), which could certainly explain the higher prevalence of asthma. Heavy traffic volumes could also be a factor. Commenting on these studies, Professor M. Innes Asher of the University of Auckland, said that although most of us have not – and likely will not – visit any of the locations studied in these papers, the findings are still relevant to all of us. For these may represent the living circumstances of many of the world's children in low to middle-income countries where the prevalence of asthma is increasing. Research should focus on which factors associated with 'development' tend to increase the risk of asthma and allergy so that planners and policymakers can focus on these so as to improve children's' health.



Also in News

COVID-19

Shop

Coronavirus Air Purifiers: Do They Help?

May 12, 2021 5 min read

The average domestic air purifier should not be considered for the removal of airborne coronavirus, especially those air purifiers which do not clearly state the air purifier’s filtration efficiency. Instead, we will assess what you will need to be aware of when searching for the air purifier to combat the spread of coronavirus.
Information About Hay Fever in March

Shop

Information About Hay Fever in March

March 08, 2021 3 min read

Hay fever in march tends brings on sneezing, a runny and/or blocked nose and red, streaming eyes. If you experience these symptoms, then it is likely that you have seasonal allergic rhinitis - also known as hay fever. Having Hay Fever means that you are likely allergic to pollen and, at this time of the year, it is most likely that tree pollen is the underlying cause.

Vax Air Purifier Review

Shop

Vax Air Purifier Review

February 09, 2021 6 min read

The VAX AP03 air purifier is a basic mid-range air purifier with basic features. The timer is simple, but the filter life indicator seems flawed. It is hard to imagine the odour/carbon filter to be anything else then ineffective in capturing and retaining gases and chemicals.

Be part of our regular news updates