Eczema and Asthma Symptoms among Schoolchildren in Coastal and Inland Areas after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake: The ToMMo Child Health Study

Tohoku J Exp Med. 2015 Dec;237(4):297-305. doi: 10.1620/tjem.237.297.


After the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, there has been a concern about health problems among children. Therefore, we investigated the prevalence of wheeze and eczema symptoms and associated factors among children in areas primarily affected by the disaster. From 2012 to 2014, we distributed the parent-administered questionnaire to 25,198 children in all 233 public schools in the 13 municipalities of Miyagi Prefecture in northeast Japan. A total of 7,155 responses (mean age 10.5 ± 2.2 years) were received (response rate: 28.4%). The prevalence of allergic symptoms according to the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) questionnaire in 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 8th graders was 12.4%, 9.9%, 9.3%, and 5.6% for wheeze, and 20.1%, 18.0%, 14.0%, and 12.4% for eczema. In multivariate logistic analysis, younger age, history of hospitalization, and difficulties in children's daily lives as assessed by the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), were significantly and consistently associated with both allergic symptoms (both P < 0.05). Living in a coastal municipality was also associated with eczema symptoms (P = 0.0278). The prevalence of eczema symptoms in the 2nd (20.1%) and 8th (12.4%) grades was significantly higher than previously reported in Japan. Living in a coastal municipality was independently associated with eczema symptoms, and psychometric properties were also closely linked to allergic symptoms. These findings are clinically important for understanding the risks of allergic disorders after natural disasters.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Asthma / psychology
  • Child
  • Child Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Earthquakes / statistics & numerical data*
  • Eczema / epidemiology*
  • Eczema / psychology
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires