Risk factors for reduced lung function in Australian Aboriginal children.

Publication Date:

20 Jul 2006


Bucens IK, Reid A, Sayers SM. (2006). Risk factors for reduced lung function in Australian Aboriginal children. J Paediatr Child Health. 42(7-8), 452-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.2006.00896.x



To determine the influence of perinatal and childhood exposures on lung function in a cohort of Australian Aboriginal children.

This was a cross-sectional study of 547 Northern Territory Aboriginal children, aged 8-14 years, belonging to a birth cohort. Assessment included physical examination and spirometry as well as retrospective review of centralised hospital records. The effect of select perinatal and childhood exposures on lung function outcomes (forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory flow between 25 and 75 s (FEF25-75)) adjusted for age, sex, height and other measures of size was examined using multiple regression.

Non-urban residence (FEV1 -5% (95% confidence interval, CI 0.91-0.99), FVC -9% (95% CI 0.87-0.95)), current cough (FEV1 -6% (95% CI 0.91-0.97), FVC -4% (95% CI 0.93-0.97), FEF25-75 -8% (95% CI 0.86-0.98)) and hospitalisations for respiratory disease (FEV1 -10% (95% CI 0.86-0.95), FEF25-75 -12% (95% CI 0.70-0.87)) all had significant negative effects on adjusted lung function measures. Children with a non-Aboriginal ancestor had significantly better lung function. No perinatal exposure other than neonatal lung disease had any significant effect on adjusted lung function.

For Northern Territory Aboriginal children factors related to the childhood environment are more important than perinatal factors in determining childhood lung function.


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