Epidemiology of asthma in India

Indian J Pediatr. 2002 Apr;69(4):309-12. doi: 10.1007/BF02723216.


Allergic respiratory disorders, in particular asthma are increasing in prevalence, which is a global phenomenon. Even though genetic predisposition is one of the factors in children for the increased prevalence - urbanisation, air pollution and environmental tobacco smoke contribute more significantly. Our hospital based study on 20,000 children under the age of 18 years from 1979,1984,1989,1994 and 1999 in the city of Bangalore showed a prevalence of 9%,10.5%,18.5%, 24.5% and 29.5% respectively. The increased prevalence correlated well with demographic changes of the city. Further to the hospital study, a school survey in 12 schools on 6550 children in the age group of 6 to 15 years was undertaken for prevalence of asthma and children were categorized into three groups depending upon the geographical situation of the school in relation to vehicular traffic and the socioeconomic group of children. Group I-Children from schools of heavy traffic area showed prevalence of 19.34%, Group II-Children from heavy traffic region and low socioeconomic population had 31.14% and Group III-Children from low traffic area school had 11.15% respectively. (P: I & II; II & III <0.001). A continuation of study in rural areas showed 5.7% in children of 6-15 years. The persistent asthma also showed an increase from 20% to 27.5% and persistent severe asthma 4% to 6.5% between 1994-99. Various epidemiological spectra of asthma in children are discussed here.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Air Pollution / adverse effects
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects
  • Urbanization


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution