University of Oulu

Kantomaa MT, Tolvanen M, Halonen M, Svanes C, Järvelin M-R, Sebert S. Influence of Farm Environment on Asthma during the Life Course: A Population-Based Birth Cohort Study in Northern Finland. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2023; 20(3):2128.

Influence of farm environment on asthma during the life course : a population-based birth cohort study in Northern Finland

Saved in:
Author: Kantomaa, Marko T.1; Tolvanen, Mimmi1; Halonen, Miia1;
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Population Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, 90220 Oulu, Finland
2Department of Occupational Medicine, Haukeland University Hospital, N-5021 Bergen, Norway
3Centre for International Health, Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, University of Bergen, N-5009 Bergen, Norway
4Unit of Primary Care, Oulu University Hospital, 90220 Oulu, Finland
5MRC Centre for Environment and Health, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London W2 1PG, UK
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-07-12


We investigated the influence of a farming environment on asthma at three time points from birth to 46 years using the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 (n = 10,926). The prevalence of asthma was investigated by postal questionnaires at 14, 31 and 46 years of age. Exposure to a farming environment was assessed by a postal questionnaire at birth and at 31 and 46 years of age. Odds ratios (ORs) and their 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) for the prevalence of asthma were obtained from multinomial logistic regression, stratified by sex. Being born in a farmer family was potentially causally associated with lower risk of asthma in males at 31 years of age (OR 0.56, 95% CI 0.37, 0.85) and in females at 46 years of age (OR 0.64, 95% CI 0.44, 0.95). Working as a farmer was not associated with asthma. Exposure to a farming environment in childhood may have a lifelong impact on developing asthma from birth through young adulthood and until middle age, indicating that ‘immune deviation’ may persist throughout life.

see all

Series: International journal of environmental research and public health
ISSN: 1661-7827
ISSN-E: 1660-4601
ISSN-L: 1661-7827
Volume: 20
Issue: 3
Article number: 2128
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph20032128
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
3121 General medicine, internal medicine and other clinical medicine
Funding: This research was funded by the research and innovation program Horizon 2020 of the European Commission, grant numbers 733206 (LIFECYCLE), 824989 (EUCAN-Connect) and 825762 (EDCMET). NFBC1966 was funded by the University of Oulu, grant numbers 65354 and 24000692; Oulu University Hospital, grant numbers 2/97, 8/97 and 24301140; Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, grant numbers 23/251/97, 160/97 and 190/97; National Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, grant number 54121; Regional Institute of Occupational Health, Oulu, Finland, grant numbers 50621 and 54231; and ERDF European Regional Development Fund, grant number 539/2010 A31592. This work was partly supported by the MRC Centre for Environment and Health, which is currently funded by the Medical Research Council (MR/S019669/1, 2019–2024).
EU Grant Number: (733206) LIFECYCLE - Early-life stressors and LifeCycle health
(825762) EDCMET - Metabolic effects of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: novel testing METhods and adverse outcome pathways
(824989) EUCAN-Connect - A federated FAIR platform enabling large-scale analysis of high-value cohort data connecting Europe and Canada in personalized health
Copyright information: © 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (