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Thorax 64:321-325 doi:10.1136/thx.2008.104406
  • Asthma

Association of duration of television viewing in early childhood with the subsequent development of asthma

  1. A Sherriff1,
  2. A Maitra2,
  3. A R Ness3,
  4. C Mattocks4,
  5. C Riddoch4,
  6. J J Reilly5,
  7. J Y Paton5,
  8. A J Henderson6
  1. 1
    Dental School, Faculty of Medicine, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  2. 2
    Department of Paediatric Respiratory Medicine, Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Sheffield, UK
  3. 3
    Department of Oral and Dental Science, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  4. 4
    School for Health, University of Bath, Bath, UK
  5. 5
    Division of Developmental Medicine, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  6. 6
    Department of Community-Based Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  1. Dr A Sherriff, Dental School, Faculty of Medicine, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G2 3JZ, UK; a.sherriff{at}dental.gla.ac.uk
  • Received 7 July 2008
  • Accepted 9 December 2008
  • Published Online First 13 March 2009

Abstract

Objective: To investigate whether duration of television (TV) viewing in young children is associated with subsequent development of asthma.

Methods: Children taking part in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) with no wheeze up to the age of 3.5 years and follow-up data at 11.5 years of age took part in a prospective longitudinal cohort study. The main outcome measure was asthma, defined as doctor-diagnosed asthma by 7.5 years of age with symptoms and/or treatment in the previous 12 months at 11.5 years of age. Parental report of hours of TV viewing per day by the children was ascertained at 39 months.

Results: In children with no symptoms of wheeze at 3.5 years of age and follow-up data at 11.5 years of age, the prevalence of asthma was 6% (185/3065). Increased TV viewing at 3.5 years was associated with increased prevalence of asthma at 11.5 years of age (p for linear trend = 0.0003). Children who watched television for >2 h/day were almost twice as likely to develop asthma by 11.5 years of age as those watching TV for 1–2 h/day (adjusted odds ratio 1.8 (95% CI 1.2 to 2.6)).

Conclusion: Longer duration of TV viewing in children with no symptoms of wheeze at 3.5 years of age was associated with the development of asthma in later childhood.

Footnotes

  • Funding: AS was funded by Medical Research grant MRC G0401540. The funding source had no involvement in the authors’ work.

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethics approval: Ethical approval for the study was obtained from the ALSPAC Law and Ethics Committee and the local research ethics committees.