Prevalence of lifetime asthma and current asthma attacks in U.S. working adults: an analysis of the 1997-2004 National Health Interview Survey data

J Occup Environ Med. 2009 Sep;51(9):1066-74. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181b3510a.


Objective: To estimate national prevalences of lifetime asthma and asthma attacks among workers by age, sex, race, occupation and industry, and estimate population attributable fraction to employment for asthma attacks in the United States.

Methods: The 1997-2004 National Health Interview Survey data for currently working adults aged > or = 18 years were analyzed.

Results: Lifetime asthma prevalence was 9.2%; the social services religious and membership organizations industry and the health service occupation had the highest asthma prevalence. Asthma attack prevalence among workers with asthma was 35.4%; the primary metal industry and the health assessment and treating occupation had the highest attack prevalence. Approximately, 5.9% of cases reporting an asthma attack were attributed to employment when considering industries and 3.8% when considering occupations.

Conclusions: Future studies and intervention strategies should address the higher prevalence of asthma in certain industries and occupations.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Asthma / etiology*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Industry*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Occupational Diseases / diagnosis
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupations
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Distribution
  • United States / epidemiology