Correlation between asthma and climate in the European Community Respiratory Health Survey

Arch Environ Health. 2002 Jan-Feb;57(1):48-52. doi: 10.1080/00039890209602916.


The European Community Respiratory Health Survey, performed during 1991-1993, found a remarkable geographical variability in the prevalence of asthma and asthma-like symptoms in individuals aged 20-44 yr. The highest values occurred in the English-speaking centers. In the present investigation, the ecological relationship between climate and symptom prevalence was evaluated in the 48 centers of the European Community Respiratory Health Survey. Meteorological variables were derived from the Global Historical Climatology Network and were averaged over an 11-yr period (i.e., 1980-1990). Respiratory symptom prevalence was directly related to temperature in the coldest month and was related inversely to the temperature in the hottest month. Warm winters and cool summers are features of oceanic climate found in most English-speaking centers of the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (i.e., England, New Zealand, and Oregon). In conclusion, climate can account for significant geographic variability in respiratory symptom prevalence.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Asthma / etiology
  • Climate*
  • European Union / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires