The prevalence of asthma in schoolboys of travellers' families

Ir Med J. 1998 Dec;91(6):203-6.


This study compared the prevalence of asthma in travelling schoolboys and settled controls to determine whether the travelling lifestyle may be a protective factor in the development of asthma. Information was collected by parental responses to the ISAAC (International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood) questionnaire. The design was a cross-sectional study with descriptive and analytical components. The subjects were six to twelve year old schoolboys from all male travelling children in Cork and from a selection of settled schoolboys. In addition the study collected information on the predictor variables--age, passive smoking and number of siblings. The questionnaire was administered to 54 travelling boys and 129 controls. The parent reported prevalence of wheeze and related symptoms were all more common in controls compared with the travelling boys. The values were significant for wheeze in the last year (31.3% v 14.8%; OR-5.6, p = 0.025), and for doctor diagnosed asthma (25.6% v 11.1%; OR = 5.1, p = 0.04). Schoolboys from travelling families have less wheeze and doctor diagnosed asthma than controls. The experience of the travelling lifestyle maybe a protective factor in the development of asthma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Asthma / etiology*
  • Asthma / prevention & control
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / epidemiology
  • Hypersensitivity / etiology*
  • Hypersensitivity / prevention & control
  • Ireland / epidemiology
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Students
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Travel*