Secondhand smoke, dietary fruit intake, road traffic exposures, and the prevalence of asthma: a cross-sectional study in young children

Am J Epidemiol. 2005 Mar 1;161(5):406-11. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwi059.


The authors have investigated the independent effects of exposure to secondhand smoke, road vehicle traffic, and dietary fruit intake in a cross-sectional study of asthma in young children. They surveyed all children aged 4-6 years in 235 schools in the East Midlands and East of England regions of the United Kingdom in 2003. Data on respiratory symptoms, diagnoses and treatment, smoking in the home, and dietary fruit intake were collected by parental questionnaire. A geographic information system was used to map postcodes and determine the distance of the home from the nearest main road. Responses were obtained from 11,562 children. Wheeze in the past year and physician-diagnosed asthma were reported by 14.1% and 18.2%, respectively. Both of these outcomes were more common in children who lived with a smoker, and the prevalence of asthma increased with the number of smokers in the home. Asthma prevalence was not associated with proximity of the home to a main road or with dietary fruit intake. The authors conclude that, of the potential risk factors considered in this study, preventing secondhand smoke exposure may be the most effective way of preventing asthma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Asthma / etiology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Fruit*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prevalence
  • Respiratory Sounds / etiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Vehicle Emissions / adverse effects*


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution
  • Vehicle Emissions