Asthma and selective migration from farming environments in a three-generation cohort study

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  • Signe Timm
  • Morten Frydenberg
  • Michael J. Abramson, Monash University
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  • Randi J. Bertelsen, Universitetet i Bergen
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  • Lennart Bråbäck, Clinical Sciences, Umea universitet, Klinisk vetenskap.
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  • Bryndis Benediktsdottir, University of Iceland, Primary Health Care Center
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  • Thorarinn Gislason, University of Iceland, Landspitali University Hospital, Reykjavik
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  • Mathias Holm, Gøteborg Transplantationscenter, Sahlgrenska Universitetssjukhuset
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  • Christer Janson, Uppsala universitet
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  • Rain Jogi, University Tartu
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  • Ane Johannessen, Universitetet i Bergen, Department of Occupational Medicine, Haukeland University Hospital, NO-5021 Bergen, Norway.
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  • Jeong Lim Kim, Sahlgrenska Academy
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  • Andrei Malinovschi, Uppsala universitet
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  • Gita Mishra, The University of Queensland
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  • Jesús Moratalla, Albacete University Hospital
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  • Torben Sigsgaard
  • Cecilie Svanes, Universitetet i Bergen, Department of Occupational Medicine, Haukeland University Hospital, NO-5021 Bergen, Norway.
  • ,
  • Vivi Schlünssen

Individuals raised on a farm appear to have less asthma than individual raised elsewhere. However, selective migration might contribute to this as may also the suggested protection from farm environment. This study investigated if parents with asthma are less likely to raise their children on a farm. This study involved three generations: 6045 participants in ECRHS/RHINE cohorts (born 1945–1973, denoted G1), their 10,121 parents (denoted G0) and their 8260 offspring participating in RHINESSA (born 1963–1998, denoted G2). G2-offspring provided information on parents not participating in ECRHS/RHINE. Asthma status and place of upbringing for all three generations were reported in questionnaires by G1 in 2010–2012 and by G2 in 2013–2016. Binary regressions with farm upbringing as outcome were performed to explore associations between parental asthma and offspring farm upbringing in G0–G1 and G1–G2. Having at least one parent with asthma was not associated with offspring farm upbringing, either in G1–G2 (RR 1.11, 95% CI 0.81–1.52) or in G0–G1 (RR 0.99, 0.85–1.15). G1 parents with asthma born in a city tended to move and raise their G2 offspring on a farm (RR 2.00, 1.12–3.55), while G1 parents with asthma born on a farm were less likely to raise their G2 offspring on a farm (RR 0.34, 0.11–1.06). This pattern was not observed in analyses of G0–G1. This study suggests that the protective effect from farm upbringing on subsequent asthma development could not be explained by selective migration. Intriguingly, asthmatic parents appeared to change environment when having children.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Epidemiology
Pages (from-to)601-609
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • Asthma, ECRHS, Farming, RHINE, RHINESSA, Selective migration

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