METHODS A cross sectional survey was conducted of children aged 8–10years who had previously participated in a cohort study of respiratory and diarrhoeal illnesses in infancy. Questionnaires were administered asking about respiratory symptoms and asthma diagnoses,pulmonary function tests were performed before and after exercise on a treadmill, and atopy was determined from skin prick tests and
was determined from skin prick tests and specific serum IgE levelsRESULTS A total of 793 children participated in the survey. The prevalence of asthma related symptoms in the last 12 months was 23.2%, but only 3.8% of children reported a recent asthma attack. Themean differences in pretest percentage predicted forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1)
were 8.1% (95% CI 2.4 to 13.8) between children who did and did not report an asthma attack in the last12 months, and 5.3% (95% CI 2.8 to 7.9) in children who did and did not report respiratory symptoms. The corresponding differences in mean percentage fall in FEV1 after exercise were 3.1% (95% CI –1to 7.1)
and 5.1% (95% CI 3.4 to 6.8). Recent asthma or respiratory symptoms were not associated with atopy in this population (odds ratios 1.29 (95% CI 0.56 to 2.97) and 0.91 (95% CI 0.61 to 1.37),respectively).
CONCLUSIONS Most asthma in these children was unrecognised and mild. Asthma and asthma symptoms in this population do not seem to be related to atopy
Respiratory symptoms, asthma,...