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The impact of parental history on children's risk of asthma: a study based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey-III

Authors Xu R, DeMauro S, Feng R

Received 3 January 2015

Accepted for publication 26 February 2015

Published 25 May 2015 Volume 2015:8 Pages 51—61


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Amrita Dosanjh

Rengyi Xu,1 Sara B DeMauro,2 Rui Feng1

1Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA; 2Division of Neonatology, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Purpose: This study aimed to examine the separate effects of maternal and paternal history on the onset of asthma in children and evaluate the relationship between age of asthma onset in parents and risk of asthma in their children.
Methods: We used data from the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. We developed new continuous standardized scores for survey data to quantify parental history that incorporated both the occurrence of asthma and the age at onset, and associated these scores with asthma risk in the children. The association analysis was adjusted for sex and obesity status.
Results: Children with maternal history have elevated asthma risk (hazard ratio of 3.71, 95% CI: 1.19–11.60) than those without, and those whose mothers had earlier age of onset have increased risk of asthma compared to those whose mothers had later age of onset. On the contrary, paternal history had a relatively smaller effect that may be only detectable in larger samples (hazard ratio of 2.17, 95% CI: 0.69–6.79).
Conclusion: Maternal asthma history was strongly associated with the onset of asthma in the second generation, and children whose mother had an earlier age of onset had an increased risk of 3.71. For an approximately 10-year decrease in mother’s age at onset of asthma, the risk of asthma for the offspring increased by 1.37-fold. Using our new risk scores led to smaller standard errors and thus more precise estimates than using a binary indicator.

Keywords: parental history, asthma risk, maternal history, survey, family data

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