The second generation and asthma: Prevalence of asthma among Israeli born children of Ethiopian origin

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Background: Immigrant populations moving from undeveloped countries with low asthma prevalence have shown increased asthma prevalence in their new Westernized environment. We compared the prevalence of asthma among Israeli born children of Ethiopian origin to that in non-Ethiopian children. Methods: Cross sectional study. Data was retrieved for children aged 6-18 years in four clinics with a large proportion of patients of Ethiopian origin. For each Israeli born child from Ethiopian origin we matched an Israeli born child of any other origin of the same age and gender, receiving primary care from the same physician at the same clinic. Asthma was defined as any visit to a primary care physician, emergency room or hospitalization related to asthma symptoms or subsequent purchasing of any asthma medication during 2008. Results: 1217 children of Ethiopian origin and 1217 matched controls were studied. More Ethiopian children came from families with a low socioeconomic status (23.9% vs. 17%, p < 0.001), and with significantly lower parental smoking (5.1% vs. 40.1%, p < 0.001). The prevalence of asthma was 92/1217 (7.5%) among children of Ethiopian origin, compared to 122/1217 (10.0%) among the control group (OR = 0.74, 95% CI: 0.56-0.98, p = 0.032). When adjusted for tobacco exposure, the OR for risk of asthma in the Ethiopian children was 0.80 (95% CI: 0.59-1.09, p = 0.16). Conclusion: Asthma prevalence in the second generation of Israeli born children of Ethiopian origin does not seem to differ from other children in their community. This observation supports the theory that environmental exposures, rather than genetic factors, dictated the increase in asthma in this immigrant population.© 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.




Shani, M., Band, Y., Kidon, M. I., Segel, M. J., Rosenberg, R., Nakar, S., & Vinker, S. (2013). The second generation and asthma: Prevalence of asthma among Israeli born children of Ethiopian origin. Respiratory Medicine, 107(4), 519–523.

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