Family history doubles asthma risk for preschoolers

Family history doubles asthma risk for preschoolers

Children with a family history of asthma have more than twofold higher rates of asthma through age 4 years, according to a study published online May 17 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Christine Cole Johnson, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, and colleagues used data from the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes consortium (May 1, 1980, through March 31, 2018) to evaluate childhood asthma incidence rates across the nation by core demographic strata and parental history of asthma. The analysis included 31 birth cohorts (≥34 gestational weeks of age to 18 years of age; 11,404 children, of whom 64 percent had no family history of asthma).

The researchers found that children with a family history had a nearly twofold higher incidence rate through the fourth year of life (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 1.94), after which the rates converged with the group of children who had no family history. Asthma incidence rates among non-Hispanic Black children were markedly higher than those of non-Hispanic White children during the preschool years (IRR, 1.58), regardless of history, and became lower than that of White children after age 9 to 10 years (IRR, 0.67) with no family history. For boys, the rates declined with age, while rates among girls were relatively steady across all ages, particularly among those without a family history of asthma.

“These findings suggest that asthma interventions developed to target early childhood may be important for the prevention of asthma among children with a family history of asthma and among Black children,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to medical and pharmaceutical companies.

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