Risk factors for asthma in US adults: results from the 2000 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

J Asthma. 2004 Feb;41(1):91-8. doi: 10.1081/jas-120026066.


Background: Identifying populations at risk for having asthma is an essential step toward appropriately allocating resources and reducing the burden of this disease. To date, the impact of demographic and social factors on asthma prevalence has not been assessed in a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults.

Methods: We conducted weighted analyses using data from a random digit-dialed telephone survey of non-institutionalized persons > or = 18 years of age in 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia to assess risk factors for asthma prevalence.

Results: We found that women were more likely than men to report current asthma [odds/ratio (OR): 1.91, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.77-2.06]; adults aged 35-64 and >65 were less likely than adults aged 18-34 to report current asthma (OR: 0.79, 95% CI: 0.73-0.85 and OR: 0.65, 95% CI: 0.58-0.72, respectively); persons from the lower socioeconomic status (SES) were more likely to report current asthma than those in other SES (OR: 1.36, 95% CI: 1.25-1.49); overweight and obese people were more likely to report current asthma than were those of normal weight (OR: 1.10, 95% CI: 1.02-1.20 and OR: 1.65, 95% CI: 1.51-1.80, respectively); and current and former smokers were more likely than never smokers to report current asthma (OR: 1.28, 95% CI: 1.18-1.39 and OR: 1.36, 95% CI: 1.24-1.48, respectively).

Conclusions: While several important sociodemographic risk factors were associated with increased asthma prevalence in U.S. adults, the impact of generally modifiable risk factors such as elevated body mass index and cigarette smoking is of specific concern. These findings further underscore the need to target and diminish these risk factors among U.S. adults.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Asthma / etiology
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology