Childhood Origins of Adult Lung Disease as Opportunities for Prevention

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5 Scopus citations


Prenatal and childhood exposures have been shown to impact lung development, lung function trajectory, and incidence and prevalence of respiratory disease. Early life may serve as a window of susceptibility to such exposures, with the potential to influence lifelong respiratory health. Risk factors encountered in early life with potentially durable impact on lung health include prematurity, respiratory viral illness, allergen sensitization and exposure, tobacco use and exposure, indoor and outdoor pollution, diet, and obesity. These exposures vary in the extent to which they are modifiable, and interventions aimed at reducing harmful exposures range from individual-level behavior modification to policy initiatives implemented to promote population health. For many exposures, including tobacco-related exposures, multilevel interventions are needed. Future research is needed to provide insight as to early-life interventions to promote optimal lung growth and prevent development of chronic respiratory disease. Clinicians should play an active role, assisting individual patients in avoiding known detrimental exposures including maternal smoking during pregnancy and initiation of active smoking. Clinicians can be empowered by evidence to support policies promoting reduction of population-level risk factors, such as restriction on electronic cigarette sales and legislation to uphold air quality standards, to encourage attainment of maximal lung function and reduce risk of chronic lung disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)849-858
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Asthma prevention
  • Asthma risk factors
  • COPD prevention
  • COPD risk factors
  • Lung function trajectory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy


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