Children living in poverty before the first anniversary at increased risk of asthma and other chronic diseases later in life, according to a comparative study of children in the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) and Quebec Canada. Published in the journal Pediatrics, the study was conducted by researchers at the University of Montreal in Canada and the University of Warwick in the UK.
“We found that chronic poverty, compared with transient poverty is more harmful to the health of children. In fact, chronically poor children are more prone to asthma attacks,” said lead author Beatrice Nikiema, a researcher at the Department of the University of Montreal Preventive and Social Medicine.
The survey also found a link between poverty and the risk of experiencing one of the following chronic diseases: allergies, heart disease, bronchitis, kidney disease, mental retardation, epilepsy, cerebral palsy or any other health problem that has lasted six months or more. Data were collected through interviews with parents of 14,556 children who participated in the British Cohort Study Millennium (at least nine months and 36 months) and 1950 children who participated in the Longitudinal Study of Child Development (five months and 41 months).