A case-control study of risk factors for asthma in New Zealand children

Aust N Z J Public Health. 2001;25(1):44-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-842x.2001.tb00549.x.


Objective: As in other English-speaking countries, asthma is a major and increasing health problem in New Zealand. This study examined the risk factors for asthma in children aged 7-9.

Methods: Cases and controls were randomly selected from participants in the Wellington arm of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC). Cases were children with a previous diagnosis of asthma and current medication use (n=233), and controls were children with no history of wheezing and no diagnosis of asthma (n=241).

Results: After controlling for confounders, factors significantly associated with asthma were maternal (OR=3.36, 95% CI 1.88-5.99) and paternal asthma (OR-2.67, 95% CI 1.42-5.02), and male sex (OR=1.81, 95% CI 1.17-2.81). Children from social classes 5 and 6 or with unemployed parents (OR=2.32, 95% CI 1.22-4.44) were significantly more likely to have asthma than children in social classes 1 and 2. There was no significant association between having polio vaccination (OR=2.48, 95% CI 0.83-7.41), hepatitis B vaccination (OR=0.66, 95% CI 0.42-1.04) or measles/mumps/rubella vaccination (OR=1.43, 95% CI 0.85-2.41) and asthma.

Conclusions: This study has confirmed the associations of family history and lower socio-economic status with current asthma in 7-9 year old children. The role of vaccinations requires further research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Asthma / etiology*
  • Asthma / genetics
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Family Health
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B Vaccines / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine / adverse effects
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Class
  • Vaccination / adverse effects*


  • Hepatitis B Vaccines
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine