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Asthma prevalence in European, Maori and Pacific children in New Zealand (ISAAC Study)


Pattemore, PK and Ellison-Loschmann, L and Asher, MI and Barry, D and Clayton, T and Crane, J and D'Souza, WJ and Ellwood, P and Ford, R and Mackay, RJ and Mitchell, EA and Moyes, C and Pearce, N and Stewart, AW, Asthma prevalence in European, Maori and Pacific children in New Zealand (ISAAC Study), Pediatric Pulmonology, 37, (5) pp. 433-442. ISSN 8755-6863 (2004) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1002/ppul.10449


The International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) demonstrated that the highest prevalence of asthma in the world is in English-speaking countries, including New Zealand. In this paper, we compare asthma symptom prevalence in the three major ethnic groups (Maori, Pacific, and European) in the six participating centers in New Zealand. Hospital admission rates for asthma are higher among Maori and Pacific children compared to European children. The working hypothesis was that there were important differences in prevalence of asthma symptoms or diagnosis between ethnic groups which might explain these observed differences in asthma morbidity. In each center in 1992-1993, we sampled approximately 3,000 children at each of the age brackets 6-7 years and 13-14 years. There were 37,592 participants. Maori children had higher rates of diagnosed asthma and reported asthma symptoms than Pacific children in both age groups (diagnosed asthma in 6-7-year-olds: Maori, 31.7%; Pacific, 21.2%; 95% confidence interval on difference (CID), 7.2, 13.8; P < 0.001; 13-14-year-olds: Maori, 24.7%; Pacific, 19.2%; CID 2.5, 8.5; P < 0.001; recent wheeze in 6-7-year-olds: Maori, 27.6%; Pacific, 22.0%; CID, 2.6, 8.6; P < 0.001; 13-14-year-olds: Maori, 30.8%; Pacific, 21.1%; CID, 4.8, 14.5; P < 0.001;). European children had rates intermediate between those of Maori and Pacific children (6-7-year-olds) or similar to those of Maori children (13-14-year-olds), but had the lowest prevalence of night waking with wheeze in both age groups (e.g., 6-7-year-olds: European, 2.6%; Maori, 5.8%; Pacific, 5.7%; European-Maori CID: -4.2, -2.2, P < 0.001; European-Pacific CID: -4.7, -1.7, P < 0.001; Maori-Pacific CID: -1.7, 1.8, P = 1.0). The pattern of differences closely resembled that in a 1985 Auckland study, despite a 1.5-1.7-fold overall increase in prevalence. In conclusion, there are important differences in asthma prevalence among Maori, Pacific, and European children. These differences are small compared to worldwide variation, but their pattern is stable over time. The higher rate of severe asthma symptoms that Maori and Pacific children report may be one reason for the increased asthma morbidity in these groups. Further studies are needed to determine the reasons for these apparent differences in asthma severity. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Epidemiology
Research Field:Epidemiology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:D'Souza, WJ (Mr Wendyl D'Souza)
ID Code:35617
Year Published:2004
Web of Science® Times Cited:23
Deposited By:Menzies Centre
Deposited On:2005-08-22
Last Modified:2011-11-23

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