Small children are much more likely to have asthma if they live in Japan than in China, new figures on worldwide childhood asthma rates reveal. But if you're around 14 years old, you're more likely to suffer from the disease if you happen to live in
These inexplicable differences are revealed in results prepared by the International Study of Asthma and Allergy in Children (ISAAC).
In some countries, instances of asthma among 14 year olds is as low as 1.9 per cent, but ranges as high as 36.7 per cent in Central and South America, North America, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Among smaller children, the highest rates were found in Australia, Japan, Canada and Latin America.
The western Pacific region shows the wide differences in rates, with Japan and Hong Kong having the highest, at 13.2 per cent and 12.4 per cent respectively, while China had the lowest, at 3.1 per cent.
See WDDTY vol 3, no 8, and the Guide to Asthma & Eczema for more information.
!AThe Lancet, 1996; 348: 811.