The rising prevalence of asthma in young victorian adults

Rosalie Woods, Cathryn Wharton, Haydn Walters, Michael Abramson

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The prevalence of childhood asthma has risen dramatically over the past 30 years and continues to increase. It is unclear whether the prevalence of asthma in young adults is also increasing. Methods: A cross-sectional postal survey was conducted using a validated screening questionnaire which gathered data on self-reported respiratory symptoms, including whether asthma had been diagnosed. Questionnaire responses were sought from 4456 adults aged 20-44 years who were randomly selected from the electoral rolls of Higgins, Hotham and Goldstein. Non-responders were sent a reminder card after 4 weeks and a further questionnaire was sent at 6 weeks. Where possible, non-responders were then invited to complete the questionnaire via the telephone. A similar survey was conducted in 1992 in the same geographical area. Results: A response rate of 72% (n=3195) was achieved (46% male). The prevalence estimates for this survey, and for the 1992 survey, are shown in the table. Symptom or history 1992 Prevalence 1998 Prevalence (95% CI) (95% CI) Current wheeze** 22% (20-23%) 26% (24-28%) Nocturnal chest tightness N/A 18% (17-19%) Nocturnal attack of SOB 9% (8-10%) 9% (8-10%) Asthma attack in past 12 months** 7% (6-8%) 9% (8-10%) Asthma ever** 13% (11-14%) 20% (19-22%) Doctor diagnosed asthma** 12% (11-14%) 18% (17-20%) Current asthma medication** 6% (5-7%) 10% (9-11 %) Nasal allergies47% (44-51%) 42% (41-44%) **p < 0.001, # p<0.05 Conclusions: These results suggest that the self reported prevalence of asthma and related symptoms are increasing in young adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)A26
Number of pages1
Issue numberSuppl. 1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1999
EventAnnual Scientific Meeting of the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand 1999 - National Convention Centre, Canberra, Australia
Duration: 26 Feb 19993 Mar 1999
Conference number: 11th


  • Asthma epidemiology cross-sectional study questionnaire

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