Children of stressed parents more vulnerable to asthma

July 24th, 2009 - 12:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 24 (IANS) Children of stressed parents are more likely to develop asthma triggered by air pollution, says a new study.
Researchers found that stress and low parental education were also linked with larger effects of exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy.

The study was led by Rob McConnell, professor at the University of Southern California (USC).

McConnell said that “we found that it was children exposed to the combination of air pollution and life in a stressful environment who were at highest risk of developing asthma”.

Asthma is the most common chronic illness among children in developed countries, and a number of studies have linked it to environmental factors, including stress and

socio-economic status.

McConnell and colleagues used data from 2,497 children aged five to nine years, who were taking part in the USC Children’s Health Study, investigating respiratory health among children in 13 southern California communities.

None of the children had a history of asthma or wheezing at the start of the study

(2002-2003). The researchers followed them for three years and noted any parental reports of doctor-diagnosed new onset asthma in their children during that time.

Stress was also linked to a larger effect from being exposed to tobacco smoke while in the uterus.

These findings were published in the early online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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