The goal of this study was to evaluate the risk of a child developing asthma if 1 or both parents has asthma.

A random sample of 1623 children was followed up over 20 years. The outcome of interest was physician-diagnosed asthma in parents or children determined by telephone interview at baseline and follow-up surveys.

If either of the parents had asthma, the risk of the child developing asthma was significantly increased throughout the study period: the maternal asthma hazard ratio (HR) was 1.91 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.36–2.69), and the paternal asthma HR was 2.01 (95% CI: 1.37–2.96). The risk was higher still if both parents had asthma (HR: 3.83 [95% CI: 2.03–7.24]). Siblings conveyed a strong independent risk for the study subject to develop asthma (HR: 2.33 [95% CI: 1.73–3.14]). This risk was even higher when more than one-half of the subject’s siblings had asthma, indicating a dose–response pattern...

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