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30-09-2010 | Article

Environmental factors influence eczema prevalence


Free abstract

MedWire News: Researchers have estimated the national prevalence of eczema in children under 18 years of age in the USA to be 10.7%.

The states with the highest prevalence included many East Coast states, as well as Utah, Idaho, and Nevada, while the states with the lowest prevalence were in the middle and southwestern parts of the country,

Eczema and atopic dermatitis is "a global public health concern considering its increasing prevalence and mounting financial costs to health systems," note Eric Simpson, from Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, USA, and colleagues.

The researchers calculated the prevalence of eczema among a nationally representative sample of 102,353 children aged 17 years of age and under.

Overall, 10.7% of children had been diagnosed with eczema in the past 12 months. The prevalence ranged from 8.7% to 18.1%, depending on the state and district of residence.

Simpson and team also note that eczema was more likely in children living in large cities compared with those living in urban areas, and in those of Black ethnicity compared with White individuals.

The researchers suggest that exposure to environmental pollution may explain the increased risk among city dwellers, while it remains to be seen whether the higher risk in Black individuals is due to environmental or genetic influences.

The team concludes in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology that both social and environmental factors may influence eczema and atopic dermatitis.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Lucy Piper