Indoor home environments of Danish children and the socioeconomic position and health of their parents: A descriptive study

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Background: Housing and indoor home environments are associated with the risk of infections and asthma in children. To better understand the determinants and characteristics of these environments, we aimed to describe the associations between parental health and socioeconomic position and housing and indoor home environments of children in Denmark, and the clustering of the factors within these environments.

Methods: Offspring in the Danish National Birth Cohort (DNBC) whose parents responded to the 11-year followup were eligible for inclusion. We included complete cases only. Data on the indoor and housing environments (i. e. variables on housing, sources of gaseous and particle pollution, mould and moisture, and pets) were collected through an online questionnaire responded to by a parent. Data on socioeconomic position were obtained through linkage with registry data on maternal education at offspring birth and household equivalized income at offspring birth. Data on parental health were obtained by linking self-reported data from the 11-year follow-up for mother and father with administrative registry data for the mother. We present descriptive statistics and exploratory factor analyses.

Results: A total of 42 723 offspring were included for analyses. The distributions of nearly all indoor and housing environments differed according to educational and income strata, with patterns similar for both education and income. Generally, higher parental educational and income strata had more favorable indoor and housing environments (less secondhand smoking, gas stove use, mould and condensation and higher house ownership, detached house dwellings and newer building age). However, candle use was approximately similar between strata, fireplace use among lower educational and income strata tended towards the extremes (none or daily), and water damage was more common among higher educational and income strata. Parental health was strongly associated with housing and indoor home environment factors - especially parental affective disorders was strongly associated with mould. Four factors were extracted from the exploratory factor analyses, relating primarily in order of extraction to: housing ownership, mould and moisture, candle use and household density.

Conclusion: Parental health and socioeconomic position are strongly related to housing and indoor home environments. Additionally, several factors in these environments correlate strongly and cluster together. Observational studies on associations and causal effects of factors in the indoor and housing environments of children on their morbidity, must consider both of these conclusions to arrive at valid estimates and effects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107059
JournalEnvironment International
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2022

    Research areas

  • Indoor air pollution, Danish national birth cohort, Home, Built environment, Environmental epidemiology, Socioeconomic position, AIR-POLLUTION, PARTICULATE MATTER, RESPIRATORY HEALTH, GLOBAL BURDEN, EXPOSURE, ASTHMA, DETERMINANTS, ASSOCIATION, DAMPNESS, DISEASE

ID: 297360302