The European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS) was planned to answer specific questions about the distribution of asthma and health care given for asthma in the European Community. Specifically, the survey is designed to estimate variations in the prevalence of asthma, asthma-like symptoms and airway responsiveness; to estimate variations in exposures to known or suspected risk factors for asthma, and assess to what extent these variations explain the variations in the prevalence of disease; and to estimate differences in the use of medication for asthma. The protocol provides specific instructions on the sampling strategy adopted by the survey teams, as well as providing instructions on the use of questionnaires, the tests for allergy, lung function measurements, tests of airway responsiveness, and blood and urine collection. The principal data collection sheets and questionnaires are provided in the appendices, together with information on coding and quality control. The protocol is published as a reference for those who wish to know more of the methods used in the study, and also to give other groups who wish to collect comparable data access to the detailed methodology.
The current reference curves of stature and weight for the UK were first published in 1966 and have been used ever since despite increasing concern that they may not adequately describe the growth of present day British children. Using current data from seven sources new reference curves have been estimated from birth to 20 years for children in 1990. The great majority of the data are nationally representative. The analysis used Cole's LMS method and has produced efficient estimates of the conventional centiles and gives a good fit to the data. These curves differ from the currently used curves at key ages for both stature and weight. In view of the concerns expressed about the current curves and the differences between them and the new curves, it is proposed that the curves presented here should be adopted as the new UK reference curves. (Arch Dis Child 1995; 73: 17-24)
T he overall aim of the NHS R&D Health Technology Assessment (HTA) programme is to ensure that high-quality research information on the costs, effectiveness and broader impact of health technologies is produced in the most efficient way for those who use, manage and work in the NHS. Research is undertaken in those areas where the evidence will lead to the greatest benefits to patients, either through improved patient outcomes or the most efficient use of NHS resources. The Standing Group on Health Technology advises on national priorities for health technology assessment. Six advisory panels assist the Standing Group in identifying and prioritising projects. These priorities are then considered by the HTA Commissioning Board supported by the National Coordinating Centre for HTA (NCCHTA). This report is one of a series covering acute care, diagnostics and imaging, methodology, pharmaceuticals, population screening, and primary and community care. It was identified as a priority by the Methodology Panel and funded as project number 94/09/01. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Standing Group, the Commissioning Board, the Panel members or the Department of Health. The editors wish to emphasise that funding and publication of this research by the NHS should not be taken as implicit support for the recommendations for policy contained herein. In particular, policy options in the area of screening will be considered by the National Screening Committee. This Committee, chaired by the Chief Medical Officer, will take into account the views expressed here, further available evidence and other relevant considerations. Reviews in Health Technology Assessment are termed 'systematic' when the account of the search, appraisal and synthesis methods (to minimise biases and random errors) would, in theory, permit the replication of the review by others.
Objectives To report trends in overweight and obesity, defined by new internationally agreed cut-off points, in children in the United Kingdom. Design Three independent cross sectional surveys. Setting Primary schools in England and Scotland. Participants 10 414 boys and 9737 girls in England and 5385 boys and 5219 girls in Scotland aged 4 to 11 years. Main outcome measures Prevalence and change in prevalence of overweight and obesity, as defined by the international obesity task force, in 1974, 1984, and 1994, for each sex and country. Results Little change was found in the prevalence of overweight or obesity from 1974 to 1984. From 1984 to 1994 overweight increased from 5.4% to 9.0% in English boys (increase 3.6%, 95% confidence interval 2.3% to 5.0%) and from 6.4% to 10.0% in Scottish boys (3.6%, 1.9% to 5.4%). Values for girls were 9.3% to 13.5% (4.1%, 2.4% to 5.9%) and 10.4% to 15.8% (5.4%, 3.2% to 7.6%), respectively. The prevalence of obesity increased correspondingly, reaching 1.7% (English boys), 2.1% (Scottish boys), 2.6% (English girls), and 3.2% (Scottish girls). Conclusion These results form a base from which trends can be monitored. The rising trends are likely to be reflected in increases in adult obesity and associated morbidity.
The European Community Respiratory Heath Survey (ECRHS) was the first study to assess the geographical variation in asthma and allergy in adults using the same instruments and definitions. The database of the ECRHS includes information fromy140,000 individuals from 22 countries. The aim of this review is to summarize the results of the ECRHS to date.The ECRHS has shown that there are large geographical differences in the prevalence of asthma, atopy and bronchial responsiveness, with high prevalence rates in English speaking countries and low prevalence rates in the Mediterranean region and Eastern Europe. Analyses of risk factors have highlighted the importance of occupational exposure for asthma in adulthood. The association between sensitization to individual allergens and bronchial responsiveness was strongest for indoor allergens (mite and cat). Analysis of treatment practices has confirmed that the treatment of asthma varies widely between countries and that asthma is often undertreated.In conclusion, the European Community Respiratory Health Survey has shown that the prevalence of asthma varies widely. The fact that the geographical pattern is consistent with the distribution of atopy and bronchial responsiveness supports the conclusion that the geographical variations in the prevalence of asthma are true and most likely due to environmental factors. Eur Respir J 2001; 18: 598-611. During the first half of the 1990s, information on the variation in asthma prevalence, known or suspected risk factors for atopy and asthma, and information on the management of asthma in young adults was collected in the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS).The reason for undertaking the ECRHS was a rapid increase in the prevalence of asthma that had been reported from many different countries . This increase was over too short a time period to be explained by genetic factors and must therefore have been related to nongenetic or environmental changes. Further evidence of the importance of environmental factors in asthma was that studies comparing prevalence in urban and rural areas in developing countries had shown large differences in asthma prevalence . Treatment patterns of asthma  and asthma mortality  had been found to vary considerably in Europe which raised the question of whether the variation in mortality was due to geographical differences in the prevalence of asthma or differences in asthma fatality. Research directed towards identifying the environmental factors that explain this geographical variation in asthma was required to identify potential strategies to counter the global increase in the prevalence of asthma.The information available on the variation in the prevalence of asthma and allergy at the beginning of the 1990s had been collected through several studies using different protocols. The ECRHS was, therefore, the first study that assessed the prevalence of asthma and allergic disease in a large number of countries
of volatile N-nitrosamines in man aftcr ingestion of cookcd hacon and spinach. Nature 1977;265:753-5 Results-Within age groups trends in successive annual cohorts showed an increasing prevalence of asthma for each annual birth cohort (boys, 6-9%, p<0001; girls, 12-8%, p005; girls, 1-7% per cohort, p
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