Trends in eczema prevalence in children and adolescents: A Global Asthma Network Phase I Study

the Global Asthma Network Phase I Study Group

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a major global public health issue with high prevalence and morbidity. Our goal was to evaluate eczema prevalence over time, using standardized methodology. Methods: The Global Asthma Network (GAN) Phase I study is an international collaborative study arising from the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Children (ISAAC). Using surveys, we assessed eczema prevalence, severity, and lifetime prevalence, in global centres participating in GAN Phase I (2015–2020) and one/ both of ISAAC Phase I (1993–1995) and Phase III (2001–2003). We fitted linear mixed models to estimate 10-yearly prevalence trends, by age group, income, and region. Results: We analysed GAN Phase I data from 27 centres in 14 countries involving 74,361 adolescents aged 13–14 and 47,907 children aged 6–7 (response rate 90%, 79%). A median of 6% of children and adolescents had symptoms of current eczema, with 1.1% and 0.6% in adolescents and children, respectively, reporting symptoms of severe eczema. Over 27 years, after adjusting for world region and income, we estimated small overall 10-year increases in current eczema prevalence (adolescents: 0.98%, 95% CI 0.04%–1.92%; children: 1.21%, 95% CI 0.18%–2.24%), and severe eczema (adolescents: 0.26%, 95% CI 0.06%–0.46%; children: 0.23%, 95% CI 0.02%–0.45%) with larger increases in lifetime prevalence (adolescents: 2.71%, 95% CI 1.10%–4.32%; children: 3.91%, 95% CI 2.07%–5.75%). There was substantial heterogeneity in 10-year change between centres (standard deviations 2.40%, 0.58%, and 3.04%), and strong evidence that some of this heterogeneity was explained by region and income level, with increases in some outcomes in high-income children and middle-income adolescents. Conclusions: There is substantial variation in changes in eczema prevalence over time by income and region. Understanding reasons for increases in some regions and decreases in others will help inform prevention strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-352
Number of pages16
JournalClinical and Experimental Allergy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • atopic dermatitis
  • eczema
  • flexural rash
  • global estimates
  • prevalence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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