BACKGROUND: The high and increasing prevalence of childhood asthma is a major public health issue. Various risk factors have been proposed in local studies with different designs. METHODS: We have made a questionnaire study of the prevalence of childhood asthma, potential risk factors and their relations in four regions in Scandinavia (Umeå and Malmö in Sweden, Kuopio in eastern Finland and Oslo, Norway). One urban and one less urbanized area were selected in each region, and a study group of 15962 children aged 6-12 years was recruited. RESULTS: The prevalence of symptoms suggestive of asthma varied considerably between different areas (dry cough 8-19%, asthma attacks 4-8%, physician-diagnosed asthma 4-9%), as did the potential risk factors. Urban residency was generally not a risk factor. However, dry cough was common in the most traffic polluted area. Exposure to some of the risk factors. such as smoking indoors and moisture stains or moulds at home during the first 2 years of life, resulted in an increased risk. However, current exposure was associated with odds ratios less than one. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings were probably due to a combination of early impact and later avoidance of these risk factors. The effects of some risk factors were found to differ significantly between regions. No overall pattern between air pollution and asthma was seen, but air pollution differed less than expected between the areas.
In this study, population-based analysis is used to study the extent to which characteristics such as age, sex, socioeconomic status, and region of residence are associated with different patterns of pharmaceutical use. It also includes an examination of whether pharmaceutical use is responsive to differential health needs across the population.
Indicators of access, intensity of use, and total expenditures are used to describe Manitobans' use of pharmaceutical agents, consistent with the POPULIS framework.
Several rate-based measures have been developed for this purpose: the number of residents who are pharmaceutical users; the number of prescriptions dispensed; the number of different drugs dispensed; the total number of defined daily doses (DDDs) dispensed; and expenditures for pharmaceuticals. The DDD measurement provides a cumulative assessment of total drug use (i.e., across multiple drug categories) and is a useful indicator of a population's total drug exposure.
Patterns of use of pharmaceuticals follow patterns similar to those patterns in earlier POPULIS studies on health care access, intensity, and expenditures. In areas where health is generally poorer, a greater number of prescriptions are dispensed. The highest use of pharmaceuticals also was found in the lower-income quintiles and among those at greatest socioeconomic risk, traditionally those with the poorest health status.
This kind of population-based pharmaceutical information can help monitor the effectiveness of policy initiatives, as well as serve to better manage pharmaceutical use within the health care system.
Prior to 1940 the population of Sweden was one of the most homogeneous in Europe, with only 0.5% foreign born. Fifty years later, in 1990, the proportion of immigrants was around 15%. In order to describe and analyze consumption of dental care in different refugee groups in Sweden, data registered by the Department of Immigration and the National Social Insurance Board, on a random sample of 2489 refugees arriving in Sweden 1975-85, were merged. Information on nationality, date of arrival in Sweden, date of granting of permanent resident status and statistics on consumption of dental care were retrieved. During the period studied a total of 50,521 refugees arrived in Sweden. The average interval between arrival in Sweden and the first dental visit was 4.5 yr (95%