Stable prevalence of asthma symptoms in school-aged children in the Torres Strait region

Patricia Valery, Anne Chang, Ian Brent Masters, J Stirling, Yancy Laifoo, A Twist

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Background and objective: To (i) determine if the prevalence of asthma has altered in two previously studied communities and (ii) obtain baseline measures in two further communities in the Torres Strait region, Australia. Methods: A population-based cross-sectional study of school-aged children was conducted. Five schools in four communities were selected: 361 children aged 5-17 years participated. The study used the same epidemiological tool that had been utilized to measure asthma prevalence (locally adapted International Study of Asthma and Allergy in Childhood questionnaire). Results: The overall response rate was 30%; response rates in individual communities ranged from 23% to 100%. The prevalence of self-reported wheezing in the last 12 months decreased from 10.7% to 6.6% (P = 0.109) on Thursday Island and from 3.1% to zero (P = 0.358) on Warraber Island. The percentage of children with asthma symptoms was lower in this current study but changes were not statistically significant. Overall self-reported prevalence of ever wheezing was 12.5%; 5.4% reported wheezing in the previous 12 months, 5.9% reported wheezing after exercise and 12.2% reported ever having asthma. There was considerable inter-community variation in the prevalence of symptoms. Conclusions: Asthma prevalence in school-aged children living in the Torres Strait region remains high but, as in mainstream Australian children, the prevalence is stable. � 2008 The Authors.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)447-451
    Number of pages5
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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