Academic achievement of adolescents with asthma or atopic disease

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Main idea: Having asthma or an atopic disease during childhood or adolescence does not negatively impact academic performance. This information can be used by clinicians when talking with children and parents about the implications of living with asthma or atopic disease.

Abstract

Over a fifth of children and adolescents suffer from asthma or atopic disease. It is unclear whether asthma impacts academic performance in children and adolescents and little is known about the association of eczema, food allergy, or hay fever and academic performance.

The objective of the study was toexamine whether asthma, eczema, food allergy or hay fever impacts adolescent academic performance and to assess the role of unmeasured confounding.

This study used the Childhood and Adolescent Twin Study of Sweden cohort born 1992-1998. At age 9-12, years parents reported on their child’s ever or current asthma, eczema, food allergy, and hay fever status (n = 10 963). At age 15 linked national patient and medication register information was used to create current and ever asthma definitions including severe and uncontrolled asthma for the same children.

Results: There were no associations found for asthma or food allergy at 9-12 years and academic outcomes in adolescence. In addition, at age 15, there were no statistically significant associations with current, ever, severe or uncontrolled asthma and academic outcomes. Eczema and hay fever at age 9-12 years were found to be positively associated with academic outcomes; however, co-twin control analyses did not support these findings, suggesting the main analyses may be subject to unmeasured confounding.

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