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An asthma intervention program has proved successful for Canadian toddlers. The study found that persistent asthma in 2-year-old children decreased by 60% after the children were enrolled in the program.
Researchers placed 545 infants at high risk for asthma (based on immediate family history) into intervention and control groups. Steps taken in the intervention group included avoiding dust mites, pets, and secondhand smoke. Children in that group also were breast-fed longer and were given solid food later, compared with the control group. In addition, many more children in the control group were in day care.
The results showed that, by 2 years of age, 16.3% of the children in the intervention group versus 23% in the control group had developed asthma. Also, fewer children in the intervention group had recurrent wheezing. The researchers concluded that intervention steps that reduce exposure to inhalant and ingested allergens and tobacco smoke can significantly lower the rate of asthma in children at 2 years of age. (The findings were reported in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, April 2004.)