Are wheezing, asthma and eczema in children associated with mother’s health during pregnancy? Evidence from an Australian birth cohort

Ahmad, Kabir ORCID: and Kabir, Enamul ORCID: and Ormsby, Gail M. and Khanam, Rasheda ORCID: (2021) Are wheezing, asthma and eczema in children associated with mother’s health during pregnancy? Evidence from an Australian birth cohort. Archives of Public Health, 79 (1):193. pp. 1-18. ISSN 0778-7367

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Background: This study investigated the prevalence of wheezing, asthma, and eczema among Australian children using longitudinal data from birth to 15 years of age. This study also examined the association between maternal health status during pregnancy and their offspring’s respiratory and allergic morbidities using sex-segregated data.

Methods: This study used data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) where approximately 5000 children of a birth cohort across Australia were surveyed in 2004. These children were followed biennially in eight waves up to their age of 15 years until 2018. The status of the children’s wheezing, asthma, and eczema were reported by the mothers upon doctors’ diagnosis (for asthma) or self-assessment (for wheezing or eczema). Binomial logistic regression models were used to analyse associations between maternal health during pregnancy and their children’s health outcomes.

Results: Asthma prevalence among 0–1-year aged children was 11.7%, increased to 15.4% when the children were 10–11 years old, and then decreased to 13.6% when they were 14–15 years old. Wheezing and eczema were most prevalent when the children were 2–3 years old (26.0 and 17.8% respectively) and were least prevalent when the children were 14–15 years old (7.3 and 9.5% respectively). Maternal asthma, smoking during pregnancy, and pre-pregnancy obesity were significantly associated with an increased risk of wheezing and asthma in Australian children. Childhood eczema was associated only with maternal asthma. These associations were stronger among male children up to age 10–11 and during adolescence (12–15 years of age), female children were more prone to wheezing, asthma, and eczema.

Conclusion: This is a comprehensive longitudinal study of Australian children (0–15 years of age) to assess the prevalence (with sex-specific differences) of wheezing, asthma and eczema as well as the association between these respiratory and allergic morbidities and maternal health during pregnancy. The study findings suggest that careful medical and obstetric monitoring, improved specific age-sex wise risk factor prevention for children and health promotion for pregnant women would help protect child health.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © The Author(s). 2021 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Business (18 Jan 2021 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Resilient Regions - Centre for Health Research (1 Apr 2020 -)
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2021 02:52
Last Modified: 23 Dec 2021 07:01
Uncontrolled Keywords: children’s respiratory disease, allergic disease, wheezing, asthma, eczema, maternal health in pregnancy, maternal medications, maternal body mass index, maternal smoking
Fields of Research (2008): 14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140208 Health Economics
Fields of Research (2020): 38 ECONOMICS > 3801 Applied economics > 380108 Health economics
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 20 HEALTH > 2005 Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) > 200506 Neonatal and child health
20 HEALTH > 2005 Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) > 200509 Women's and maternal health
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