Advancing Understanding of Childhood Asthma: Lessons Learned from Birth Cohort Studies

Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2024 Feb;66(1):50-63. doi: 10.1007/s12016-024-08979-3. Epub 2024 Feb 7.


Asthma and allergies are some of the most common chronic disorders affecting children, the prevalence of which has been increasing in countries and regions undergoing rapid development like China. To curb the rising tide of allergies and safeguard the health of future generations, it is of critical importance to understand how asthma inception is influenced by factors acting at different life stages. Birth cohorts represent a powerful tool to investigate the temporal sequence of exposures along the natural course of asthma. We examined recent evidence on birth cohort studies of asthma and allergic diseases and evaluated their strengths and weaknesses. Essential elements for a successful birth cohort are proposed to further elucidate asthma etiology and pathogenies. Initiating new cohorts in understudied populations with the application of advanced analytical approaches will be needed. Moreover, fostering collaborative networks using standardized methodologies should be prioritized to enable integration of findings across diverse cohorts. There remains an urgent and unmet need to further translate the seminal findings from asthma birth cohort studies into targeted primary prevention strategies to eradicate the disease.

Keywords: Allergy; Asthma; Birth cohort; Child; China; Rural.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asthma* / etiology
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity* / etiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors