We investigated the prevalence of and risk factors for small airway obstruction (SAO) among Chinese island residents to establish means to prevent and treat SAO.
From October 17, 2011 to November 1, 2011, a total of 2,873 residents aged >20 years who lived on the Huangqi Peninsula of Fujian were recruited by random cluster sampling. They were asked to complete a Burden of Obstructive Lung Disease (BOLD) questionnaire and underwent physical examinations and lung function evaluations. SAO was defined as a forced expiratory flow at 50% of vital capacity, Vmax50%, of less than 70% of predicted. Risk factors for SAO were assessed from among demographic and anthropometric variables, blood chemistry results, and questionnaire response items.
A total of 216 (7.52%) Chinese island residents were identified as having SAO (95 males; 121 females). Their survey and test results were compared with 432 age and sex-matched healthy controls (192 males; 240 females) for SAO risk factors. Among numerous factors investigated, only diabetes mellitus (p = 0.039), smoking index (SI, p<0.001 for SI>600), second hand smoke (p = 0.002), and lack of regular exercise (p<0.001) were significant risk factors for SAO.
The risk factors for SAO among Chinese island residents appeared to be similar to those among people who live in high-density urban environments and impoverished rural areas. Public health policies and medical practices directed toward improving respiratory health for island residents should be comparable to those used for urban and rural dwellers.