Association of immigrant generational status with asthma

  • Anne PhilipneriEmail author
  • Steven Hanna
  • Piush J. Mandhane
  • Katholiki Georgiades
Quantitative Research



We sought to examine whether asthma risk is lower in second-generation immigrants (i.e., Canadian-born children with at least one foreign-born parent) and first-generation immigrants (i.e., foreign-born children) compared with non-immigrants (i.e., Canadian-born children to Canadian-born parents).


Data were obtained from the Canadian National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth from 1994 to 2008, which measured child health and developmental factors from birth to early adulthood. The sample included 15,799 participants aged 2–26 years. Asthma was defined as diagnosis by a health professional as having asthma, having wheezing or whistling in the chest, or use of medication for asthma.


Prevalence of asthma (defined as a combination of any three factors) was lower in first-generation (32%) and second-generation (34%) immigrants compared with non-immigrants (46%). After controlling for covariates, first- and second-generation immigrants had 0.21 (AOR = 0.21; 95% CI = 0.07–0.67) and 0.19 (AOR = 0.19; 95% CI = 0.09–0.39) lower odds of reporting asthma compared with non-immigrants, respectively. For every year the parent(s) of second-generation immigrants resided in Canada, the odds for asthma increased by 5% (AOR = 1.05; 95% CI = 1.02–1.06).


Immigrant children and youth in Canada, regardless of whether they are first- or second-generation, have lower odds for asthma compared with non-immigrants.


Asthma Wheezing Allergies Immigrants First-generation immigrants Second-generation immigrants 



Nous avons voulu déterminer si le risque d’asthme est plus faible chez les immigrants de deuxième génération (enfants nés au Canada ayant au moins un parent né à l’étranger) et les immigrants de première génération (enfants nés à l’étranger) que chez les non-immigrants (enfants nés au Canada de parents nés au Canada).


Nos données provenaient de l’Enquête longitudinale nationale sur les enfants et les jeunes (1994 à 2008), qui mesurait la santé des enfants et les facteurs développementaux de la naissance au début de l’âge adulte. L’échantillon comptait 15 799 participants âgés de 2 à 26 ans. La définition de l’asthme comprenait un diagnostic d’asthme par un professionnel de la santé, une respiration bruyante ou sifflante, ou l’utilisation de médicaments contre l’asthme.


La prévalence de l’asthme (définie comme une combinaison de ces trois facteurs) était plus faible chez les immigrants de première génération (32 %) et de deuxième génération (34 %) que chez les non-immigrants (46 %). Compte tenu des covariables, la probabilité de déclarer de l’asthme était plus faible de 0,21 (rapport de cotes ajusté [RCa] = 0,21; IC de 95% = 0,07-0,67) chez les immigrants de première génération et de 0,19 (RCa = 0,19; IC de 95% = 0,09-0,39) chez les immigrants de deuxième génération que chez les non-immigrants. Chez les immigrants de deuxième génération, pour chaque année de résidence des parents au Canada, la probabilité d’asthme augmentait de 5 % (RCa = 1,05; IC de 95% = 1,02-1,06).


Les enfants et les jeunes immigrants au Canada, qu’ils soient de première ou de deuxième génération, présentent une probabilité d’asthme plus faible que les non-immigrants.


Asthme Respiration sifflante Allergie Immigrants Immigrants de première génération Immigrants de deuxième génération 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

41997_2019_201_MOESM1_ESM.docx (15 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 14 kb)
41997_2019_201_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (36 kb)
ESM 2 (XLSX 36 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and ImpactMcMaster UniversityWest HamiltonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine and DentistryUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  3. 3.Offord Centre for Child StudiesMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  4. 4.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural NeurosciencesMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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