Prediction of asthma in young adults using childhood characteristics: Development of a prediction rule

J Clin Epidemiol. 2006 Nov;59(11):1207-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2006.02.011. Epub 2006 Aug 24.


Objective: To develop an easily applicable prediction rule for asthma in young adulthood using childhood characteristics.

Methods: A total of 1,055 out of 1,328 members of a Dutch birth cohort were followed from 2 to 21 years of age. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to evaluate the predictive value of childhood characteristics on asthma at 21 years of age. A prognostic function was developed, and the area under the receiving operating characteristic (ROC) curve was used to estimate the predictive ability of the prognostic models.

Results: Of the 693 responding subjects, 86 (12%) were diagnosed with asthma. Independent prognostic factors at ages 2 and 4 years were female gender (odds ratios (OR) 1.9 and 2.1; 95% confidence intervals (CI) 1.2-3.2 and 1.3-2.5), smoking mother (OR 1.6 and 1.6; CI 1.0-2.7 and 1.0-2.6), lower respiratory tract illness (OR 1.9 and 2.4; CI 1.0-3.6 and 1.4-4.0), and atopic parents (OR 2.1 and 1.9; CI 1.3-3.4 and 1.2-3.1). The predictive power of both models was poor; area under ROC curve was 0.66 and 0.68, respectively.

Conclusion: Asthma in young adulthood could not be predicted satisfactorily based on childhood characteristics. Nevertheless, we propose that this method is further tested as a tool to predict development of asthma.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asthma / diagnosis*
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors