Prevalence of asthma: a comparative study of urban and rural Xhosa children

Clin Allergy. 1979 Jul;9(4):319-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.1979.tb02489.x.


An epidemiological study was undertaken to determine the prevalence of asthma in young urban and rural black (Xhosa) children. One thousand three hundred and seventy five children were studied, 694 from a Cape Town african township and 671 from a rural area in Transkei. The exercise tolerance test which required free range running at maximum effort for 6 min was used to identify asthmatic subjects. A fall of 15% or more in the post-exercise FEV1 and PEFR values was regarded as a positive result. Twenty-three children were found to be asthmatic, twenty-two from the city area, but only one from the country, giving a prevalence figure for asthma of 3.17% in the first group and 0.14% for the second. Possible reasons for these differences are discussed. The exercise tolerance test was found to be a useful tool for epidemiological studies of asthma.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Asthma, Exercise-Induced / diagnosis
  • Child
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Health*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Peak Expiratory Flow Rate
  • Rural Health*
  • South Africa
  • Urban Health*