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Title: Prevalence of asthma and allergies in children from the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot communities in Cyprus: a bi-communal cross-sectional study
Authors: Lamnisos, Demetris 
Moustaki, Maria 
Kolokotroni, Ourania 
Koksoy, Huseyin 
Faiz, Muharrem 
Arifoglu, Kenan 
Milton, Donald Kirby 
Middleton, Nicos 
Yiallouros, Panayiotis K. 
Major Field of Science: Medical and Health Sciences
Field Category: Clinical Medicine
Keywords: Asthma;Allergic rhinoconjuctivits;Eczema;Children;Cyprus;Greek Cypriot;Turkish Cypriot
Issue Date: 16-Jun-2013
Source: BMC Public Health, 2013, vol. 13, Article no. 585
Volume: 13
Journal: BMC Public Health 
Abstract: Background: The Greek-Cypriot (G/C) and Turkish-Cypriot (T/C) communities have lived apart since 1974, with the former presumably adopting a more westernized way of life. We estimated the prevalence of asthma and allergies among children in the two communities and investigated differences in socio-demographic and lifestyle risk factors. Methods: The ISAAC questionnaire was completed by 10156 children aged 7–8 and 13–14 years. Relative differences in asthma and allergic symptoms between the two communities were expressed as odds ratios (OR), estimated in multivariable logistic regression models before and after adjusting for participants’ risk characteristics. Results: In contrast to our original speculation, consistently lower prevalence rates were observed for respiratory outcomes (but not eczema) among G/C compared to T/C children in both age-groups. For instance, the prevalence of current wheeze among 7–8 year-olds was 8.7% vs 11.4% (OR = 0.74, 95%, CI: 0.61, 0.90) and of current rhinoconjuctivitis 2.6% vs 4.9% (OR = 0.52, 95% CI: 0.37, 0.71). Surprisingly, the proportion reporting family history of allergy was almost double in the G/C community. With the exception of early life nursery attendance, several protective factors were more prevalent amongst T/C, such as bedroom sharing, less urbanized environment and exposure to farm animals. In contrast, exposure to tobacco smoke was more frequent in the T/C community. Controlling for risk factors did not account for the observed lower prevalence of current wheeze (in the younger age-group) and rhinoconjuctivitis (in both age-groups) among G/C children while differences in the prevalence of eczema between the two communities were no longer statistically significant. Conclusions: A mixed picture of potential risk factors was observed in the two communities of Cyprus, not consistently favoring one over the other community since, for example, bedroom sharing and rural living but also exposure to tobacco smoke were more common among T/C children. Investigated risk factors do not fully account for the lower prevalence of asthma and allergies among G/C children, especially against a background of higher family history of allergy in this community.
ISSN: 1471-2458
DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-13-585
Rights: © Springer
Type: Article
Affiliation : Cyprus University of Technology 
Attikon University Hospital 
Cyprus Turkish Medical Association 
Cyprus Social and Economic Research Centre 
Harvard School of Public Health 
University of Maryland 
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