Introduction Asthma has a great impact on health services. It affects all ages and it is more prevalent in childhood and adolescence. In South America, including Brazil, there are inconsistencies about the disease trends.
Objective To determine asthma trends from 1998 to 2008, in individuals aged 0–19 years old in Brazil.
Methods We analysed data of asthma prevalence from the Brazilian National Survey - Pesquisa Nacional por Amostragem de Domicílios (PNAD/IBGE) - of 1998, 2003 and 2008. The analysis was adjusted for the sampling design and included 141, 402; 144, 443; and 134, 032 individuals in 1998, 2003 and 2008 respectively. Prevalence was also estimated by Brazilian macro-regions.
Results The prevalence of asthma among children was 7.71% in 1998, 8.11% in 2003 and 8.48% in 2008, with an annual increment of 1%. In the Midwest macro-region there was an annual decline in asthma prevalence in order of 1.09%. In the other macro-regions the prevalence has increased from 0.84% (South) to 1.52% (Southeast). Among the group aged 10–19 years the prevalence in 1998 was 4.4%, in 2003 was 4.97% while in 2008 it was 5.48%. The increase was 2.45% per year. In the North there was an annual decrease of 0.52%. Other macro-regions showed an increase between 0.88% (Midwest) and 4.12% (Northeast).
Conclusions Although asthma is decreasing in developed countries, in Brazil the asthma prevalence in children and adolescents seems to have increased in the period between 1998 and 2008.
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