Background: Little is known about how parental socioeconomic status affects offspring asthma risk in the general population, or its relation to healthcare and medication use among diagnosed children. Methods: This register-based cohort study included 211,520 children born between April 2006 and December 2008 followed until December 2010. Asthma diagnoses were retrieved from the National Patient Register, and dispensed asthma medications from the Prescribed Drug Register. Parental socioeconomic status (income and education) were retrieved from Statistics Sweden. The associations between parental socioeconomic status and outcomes were estimated by Cox proportional hazard regression. Results: Compared to the highest parental income level, children exposed to all other levels had increased risk of asthma during their first year of life (e.g. hazard ratio, HR 1.19, 95% confidence interval, CI 1.09-1.31 for diagnosis and HR 1.17, 95% CI 1.08-1.26 for medications for the lowest quintile) and the risk was decreased after the first year, especially among children from the lowest parental income quintile (HR 0.84, 95% CI 0.77-0.92 for diagnosis, and HR 0.80, 95% CI 0.74-0.86 for medications). Further, compared to children with college-educated parents, those whose parents had lower education had increased risk of childhood asthma regardless of age. Children with the lowest parental education had increased risk of an inpatient (HR 2.07, 95% CI 1.61-2.65) and outpatient (HR 1.32, 95% CI 1.18-1.47) asthma diagnosis. Among diagnosed children, those from families with lower education used fewer controller medications than those whose parents were college graduates. Conclusions: Our findings indicate an age-varying association between parental income and childhood asthma and consistent inverse association regardless of age between parental education and asthma incidence, dispensed controller medications and inpatient care which should be further investigated and remedied.
2014. Vol. 9, no 9, e106579- p.