We have long known that asthma occurs more frequently in adult women than in adult men; the reasons for this contrast are not completely understood. The authors analyzed data from two large epidemiological studies to find out whether different demographic factors are associated with women's asthma than with men's. They performed gender-specific regression analyses to model the relationship between asthma prevalence and age, race/ethnicity, income, education level, smoking status and body mass index (BMI).
Their findings: in the U.S., obese women showed much higher rates of asthma than did obese men. Similarly, a history of smoking was associated with higher asthma prevalence in women; the results underscore the importance of these risk factors. Consistent with previous studies, the authors found that asthma was more prevalent among those with lower income; this did not differ considerably between men and women. To reduce asthma prevalence in adults overall, the authors concluded, researchers should continue to focus on identifying functional mechanisms by which women disproportionately develop asthma, and should design interventions that effectively reduce obesity and smoking.
Read the article on BioMed Central.