Publication date: 21 Mar 2022
What is already known about this subject:
- There is growing evidence that lung function, a measure of lung health from breathing tests, in early life predicts later lung function. Adverse events over the lifespan might influence how an individual's lung function tracks throughout life, resulting in poor respiratory health.
- Identifying early-life risk factors and their impact on how lung function tracks is important in preventing long term lung impairments.
- Our aim was to determine how lung function tracked over a 16-year period from childhood to young adulthood, and to identify early-life risk factors that may lead to worse lung function.
What this study adds
- Lung function, a measure of lung health from breathing tests, from Gen2 participants at the 5, 14 and 22 year follow-ups were used for determining how lung function tracked from childhood to adulthood. Information on asthma, allergies and respiratory symptoms in Gen2 participants at these follow-ups were also used from questionnaires.
- To determine air pollution exposure, residential addresses were used from the pregnancy timepoints in Gen1 participants, as well as 1,2 and 5 year Gen2 follow-ups. Information on Gen1 mothers on smoking in pregnancy and all follow-ups up to 5 years was used, together with information on parental asthma, eczema, wheeze and hayfever from the 18-week and 34 week gestation questionnaires. We also used information on preterm birth of Gen2 participants and household income to determine if these influenced our findings.
- The main findings of this study was that early-life factors such as maternal smoking, eczema in fathers and air pollution contributed to poorer lung function in childhood and this poorer lung function persisted into later life. The significance of these findings is that it is possible to identify children who may have a higher risk for poorer lung health in later life based on exposures and risk factors in early-life.