Objective: To investigate the prevalence of bronchial asthma and allergic diseases in schoolchildren from the Canary Islands, Spain.
Methods: Cross-sectional study following the methodology of ISAAC (International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood), which uses standardized and validated questionnaires. The study participants were children aged between 6 and 7 years attending schools in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain.
Results: Of the 3108 questionnaires distributed, 1883 were answered, and 1871 were evaluable (60.6%). Gender distribution was similar (51.8% boys vs 48.2% girls). Current prevalence of asthma was 18.4% (95% confidence interval [CI], 16.7-20.2), rhinitis 40.3% (95% CI, 38-42.3), and atopic dermatitis 35.8% (95% CI, 33.6-37.9). The highest prevalence of rhinitis was recorded during the autumn months (P<.005). Asthma was more frequent in boys than in girls (P<.05), but there were no statistical differences for the other allergic diseases.
Conclusions: The prevalence of asthma and allergic diseases in children aged 6-7 years in the Canary Islands is higher than in other areas of Spain where the ISAAC study has been performed. Male gender is an important risk factor in children, especially for asthma symptoms.