High Prevalence of Asthma, Allergic Symptoms Among Delhi Schoolchildren, Other 2 Cities: Study


Study examining lung health status of over 3,000 students in Delhi and two cities in southern India found “high prevalence” of symptoms related to asthma, allergies and childhood obesity doctors said on Wednesday.

The main objective of the study was to assess the respiratory health of adolescent schoolchildren in the age groups of 13-14 and 16-17 who study in private schools in Delhi, and to compare it with relatively older cities. clean in terms of air pollution – Kottayam in Kerala and Mysuru in Karnataka, they said.

The Lung Care Foundation and the Pulmocare Research and Education (PURE) Foundation have joined the exercise, which began in 2019, in 12 randomly selected schools in the three cities, said lung surgeon Arvind Kumar.

Kumar, founding administrator of the Lung Care Foundation, said the study of 3,157 schoolchildren was published in a leading peer-reviewed medical journal, Lung India, on August 31, 2021.

The study found that there is a “high prevalence of symptoms related to asthma and allergies, airway obstruction or childhood asthma and obesity,” said the team that led the study in a statement.

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A press conference was also organized online to announce the results of the study.

All children completed a comprehensive questionnaire developed by the International Study for Asthma and Allergic Diseases in Children (ISAAC). In addition, they also underwent on-site spirometry, which is the gold standard for assessing lung function, by certified technicians and nurses, Kumar said.

One of the main findings of the questionnaire data was that “an alarming number of children reported symptoms of asthma and allergies”.

In Delhi, 52.8% of schoolchildren reported sneezing, 44.9% reported itching and watery eyes, 38.4% reported severe cough, 33% reported itchy rash, 31.5% reported shortness of breath, 11.2% reported chest tightness and 8.75 percent reported eczema, according to the study.

In Kottayam and Mysuru, 39.3% of schoolchildren reported sneezing, 28.8% itchy and watery eyes, 18.9% severe cough, 12.1% itchy rash, 10.8% shortness of breath, 4.7% chest tightness and 1.8% reported eczema, he said.

Among the sample population, boys had a prevalence of asthma twice as high as girls. This observation was common to all three sites, according to the study.

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In Delhi, 37.2% of boys versus 19.9% ​​of girls had asthma prevalence, 31.4% of boys in Kottayam and 29.7% in Mysuru, he added.

Of the 29.3% of children with asthma seen on spirometry in Delhi, only 12% reported being diagnosed with asthma and only 3% used some form of inhaler.

In contrast, among the 22.6% of children with asthma on spirometry in the two southern cities, 27% said they had been diagnosed and 8% were using some form of inhaler, according to the study.

Thus, a significant number of children with asthma are not diagnosed with asthma and a large majority do not receive the correct treatment. This figure is much higher in Delhi than in Kottayam and Mysuru, according to doctors.

Children in Delhi were more obese and overweight than children in the other two cities combined (39.8% vs. 16.4%), according to the study.

“Obese and overweight children were 79% more likely to have asthma on spirometry at all three sites combined. However, overweight and obese children living in Delhi were 38% more likely to have airway obstruction defined by spirometry than overweight / obese children. of Kottayam and Mysuru, ”he said.

“The association between obesity, overweight in children and a higher prevalence of asthma is first reported in a study conducted in India,” the study said.

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