Ganesh S Kumar, Gautam Roy, L Subitha, Swaroop Kumar Sahu
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, India
Background: Bronchial asthma is an important public health problem at the global level. There is paucity of studies on bronchial asthma among school children in Urban India. Objective: To assess the prevalence and associated factors of bronchial asthma among school children. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 263 children studying in the 8 th , 9 th , and 10 th standard using the modified International Study on Allergy and Asthma in Childhood questionnaire in Urban Puducherry. Data on associated factors that include family history of asthma, type of fuel used for cooking, placement of kitchen in the house, number of windows in sleeping room, pet animals, smoking among family members, birth order, and smoke outlet were collected. Data were analyzed by univariate analysis and expressed in proportion or percentages. Results: Prevalence of ever bronchial asthma was found to be 5.3%, of which 4.2% had current episode of asthma during the last 1-year period. About 72.7% of the current asthmatics had cold or rhinitis and 54.5% each had itching or rashes and nocturnal dry cough. Prevalence is more among the 12-13 years age group (6.5%) compared to the 14-16 years age group (3.6%). Boys (5.4%) and girls (5.2%) had comparable prevalence rates. The prevalence was significantly more among those with a family history of asthma, having smoking habits in any of the family members, and the absence of smoke outlet in the house (P < 0.05). Conclusion: Bronchial asthma is an important health problem among children in urban Puducherry. Intervention on exposure to passive smoking and provision of smoke outlets may help to reduce the burden of disease at the community level.
Keywords: Bronchial asthma, prevalence, school children, urban India