Comparative prevalence of asthma in different groups of athletes: a survey

Can Respir J. 2004 Sep;11(6):402-6. doi: 10.1155/2004/251453.


Background: The type of air predominantly inhaled during training seems to play an important role in the development of airway hyperresponsiveness in athletes; however, this factor has not been evaluated for asthma.

Objective and patients: To compare the prevalence of self-reported and/or physician-diagnosed asthma among four groups of athletes categorized according to the type of air predominantly inhaled during training: cold air (n=176), dry air (n=384), humid air (n=95), and mixed dry and humid air (n=43).

Method: Self-administrated questionnaires were used.

Results: One hundred seven (15.3%) of the 698 athletes reported having asthma; of these 107 athletes, 92 had physician-diagnosed asthma. No significant differences were found for the prevalence of asthma: 15.9% (cold air), 15.4% (dry air), 12.6% (humid air) and 18.6% (mixed dry and humid air), respectively (P>0.05). Furthermore, no significant differences were observed among the groups for the prevalence of confirmed atopy, cold/flu or respiratory infections (all P>0.05), except for the prevalence of hay fever, which was significantly lower among athletes of the dry air group (P=0.04). Athletes having a first-degree relative with asthma did not have a higher prevalence of asthma than those who did not (P>0.05).

Conclusion: The prevalence of asthma was not significantly different among the four groups of athletes and it was not associated with a family history of asthma.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity*
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cold Temperature / adverse effects*
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Humidity / adverse effects*
  • Hypersensitivity / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Sports*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires