Background: Previous reports suggest that atopic dermatitis is more common in black Caribbean children born in the United Kingdom than in white children. It is unclear whether these differences are caused by selection bias or variations in the use of the word "eczema" in the groups studied.
Objective: Our objective was to explore ethnic group differences in the prevalence of atopic dermatitis in London schoolchildren.
Methods: A cross-sectional prevalence survey of 693 junior school children in three schools was performed. Atopic dermatitis was defined in three ways: (1) by a dermatologist, (2) by visible flexural dermatitis as recorded by an independent observer, and (3) by a history of flexural dermatitis according to the child's parents.
Results: The prevalence of atopic dermatitis according to examination by a dermatologist was 16.3% in black Caribbean children and 8.7% in white children. This increased risk was present for different methods of defining of a atopic dermatitis and persisted after adjustment for potential confounders.
Conclusion: London-born black Caribbean children appear to be at an increased risk of having atopic dermatitis.