Children born to an older mother with a history of asthma were more likely to develop childhood persistent asthma than children born to older mothers without a history of asthma, according to study results published in the Journal of Asthma.

Childhood persistent asthma was evaluated by following up with children aged 0 to 2 years every 2 years until age 8 to 10 years. The effect of maternal asthma history on the risk of developing childhood persistent asthma in older mothers was compared between groups. Patients were part of The National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youths, a longitudinal survey conducted by Statistics Canada.

Of the patients in The National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youths study, 2.6% (n=29,640) had persistent childhood asthma, and maternal asthma was present in 5.7% (n=57,640) of cases. In terms of the primary outcome, a 1-year increase in maternal age at childbirth was associated with a 20% increased risk for childhood persistent asthma in children with a reported history of maternal asthma. No such association was found in children in whom there was no maternal history of asthma.

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“We report the biological mother history of asthma can significantly modify the risk of persistent asthma of her child associated with maternal age at birth,” the researchers wrote. “The results of our study can help to explain the discrepancy and inconsistent results from published studies in the current literature on the association between maternal age at birth of child and risk of asthma.”


Wadden D, Farrell J, Smith MJ, Twells LK, Gao Z. Maternal history of asthma modifies the risk of childhood persistent asthma associated with maternal age at birth: results from a large prospective cohort in Canada [published online September 3, 2019]. J Asthma. doi:10.1080/02770903.2019.1658207