Disadvantage in early-life and persistent asthma in adolescents: a UK cohort study

Creese, Hanna, Lai, Eric ORCID: 0000-0002-1229-9471, Mason, Kate ORCID: 0000-0001-5020-5256, Schlueter, Daniela K ORCID: 0000-0001-9018-0022, Saglani, Sejal, Taylor-Robinson, David ORCID: 0000-0002-5828-7724 and Saxena, Sonia
(2022) Disadvantage in early-life and persistent asthma in adolescents: a UK cohort study. THORAX, 77 (9). pp. 854-864.

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<h4>Objective</h4>To determine how early-life risk factors explain socioeconomic inequalities in persistent asthma in adolescence.<h4>Methods</h4>We did a causal mediation analysis using data from 7487 children and young people in the UK Millennium Cohort Study. Persistent asthma was defined as having a diagnosis reported at any two or more time points at 7, 11 or 14 years. The main exposure was maternal education, a measure of early-life socioeconomic circumstances (SECs), used to calculate the relative index of inequality. We assessed how blocks of perinatal (maternal health behaviours, infant characteristics and duration of breastfeeding, measured at 9 months) and environmental risk factors (family housing conditions; potential exposure to infections through childcare type and sibling number, and neighbourhood characteristics, measured at 3 years) mediated the total effect of childhood SECs on persistent asthma risk, calculating the proportion mediated and natural indirect effect (NIE) via blocks of mediators.<h4>Results</h4>At age 14 the overall prevalence of persistent asthma was 15%. Children of mothers with lower educational qualifications were more likely to have persistent asthma, with a clear social gradient (degree plus: 12.8% vs no qualifications: 20.3%). The NIE gives the effect of SECs acting only via the mediators and shows a 31% increased odds of persistent asthma when SECs are fixed at the highest level, and mediators at the level which would naturally occur at the lowest SECs versus highest SECs (NIE OR 1.31, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.65). Overall, 58.9% (95% CI 52.9 to 63.7) of the total effect (OR 1.70, 95% CI 1.20 to 2.40) of SECs on risk of persistent asthma in adolescence was mediated by perinatal and environmental characteristics.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Perinatal characteristics and the home environment in early life are more important in explaining socioeconomic inequalities in persistent asthma in British adolescents than more distal environmental exposures outside the home.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: asthma, asthma epidemiology
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Population Health
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2021 07:55
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 21:26
DOI: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2021-217312
Open Access URL: https://thorax.bmj.com/content/early/2021/10/11/th...
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URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3140522