Early life exposures and risk of adult respiratory disease during 50 years of follow-up

Carl J Johansson, Peter M Nilsson, Claes Ignell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adult health is influenced by factors during fetal life affecting organ development and birth weight. We aimed to study such factors in relation to adult respiratory disease (ARD) risk. The Helsingborg Birth Cohort, Sweden, contributed baseline data collected by medical staff through clinical examination and questionnaires on maternal and birth characteristics 1964-1967. Register linkages were performed with completions of data on ARD by ICD 8-10 classifications (1969-2016), and/or ARD-related drug usage (2005-2016) enabling a 50-year follow-up time. Cox proportional hazard regression analyses were made to adjust for potential confounders, adjusted hazard ratio (aHR). A total of 3675 mothers and their offspring were included. Female offspring showed higher frequency of ARD than males, aHR 1.5 (95% CI 1.3-1.8). Maternal use of sedatives during second trimester, aHR 2.2 (95% CI 1.4-3.4), and maternal smoking during most of pregnancy, aHR 1.2 (95% CI 1.0-1.4), were associated with offspring ARD. Stratified by sex, large-for-gestational-age, aHR 1.4 (95% CI 1.0-1.9), was significantly associated with ARD in female offspring along with maternal sedative use during second trimester and maternal smoking during most of pregnancy. Maternal sedative use during second trimester or all trimesters were the only significant risk factors for male offspring. In conclusion, maternal sedative use in second trimester was independently associated with subsequent respiratory disease in adult offspring irrespective of sex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1157-1166
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number12
Early online date2020 Apr 8
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
  • Respiratory Medicine and Allergy


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