To determine the prevalence of asthma and respiratory symptoms among Swedish cross-country skiers in early adolescence in comparison to a population-based reference group of similar ages.
A postal questionnaire on asthma, asthma medication, allergy, respiratory symptoms, and physical activity was distributed to Swedish competitive cross-country skiers aged 12-15?years (n?=?331) and a population-based reference group (n?=?1000). The level of asthma control was measured by the Asthma Control Test.
The response rate was 27% (n?=?87) among skiers and 29% (n?=?292) in the reference group. The prevalence of self-reported asthma (physician-diagnosed asthma and use of asthma medication in the last 12?months) and the prevalence of reported wheezing during the last 12?months were 23% and 25%, respectively, among skiers, which were significantly higher than the values reported in the reference group (12% and 14%). Skiers exercised more hours/week than the reference group. Among adolescents with self-reported asthma, neither the usage of asthma medications nor the level of asthma control according to the Asthma Control Test differed between skiers and the reference group.
Adolescent competitive cross-country skiers have an increased prevalence of respiratory symptoms and asthma compared to nonskiers.