Shlomo Moshe1, Yaron Yagev2, Ayala Krakov1 and
Medicine Department, Maccabi Healthcare Services, Holon, Israel,
2Occupational Medicine Department, Ben-Gurion University Medical
School, Beer-Sheva, Israel, 3Occupatinal Branch Medical Corps, Israel
Defence Forces, Ramat Gan, Israel
Asthma is a chronic and common condition of childhood and adolescence.
The study objective was to examine if an existing asthma in different
severity stages, is a risk factor for worsening as a function of the
military occupation and service specifications.
This retrospective cohort study included army recruits of the Israel
Defence Force (IDF) between 1998-2006 for a 3 years follow up. They
were divided according to their occupational categories to Maintenance
Units (MU), Combat Units (CU), Administrative Units (AU) and Driving
The annual incidence rate of new onset asthma disease was 0.29%, lower
than expected. The rate in MU, CU and DU was lower than in the AU
(0.629, 0.503 and 0.543 respectively, p<0.001). Similar findings
were found in other asthma categories. The annual incidence for
recurrent asthma disease in soldiers with childhood asthma was 3.1%,
slightly lower but similar to the mean incidence in the literature
The low incidence of asthma may depend upon the reliability of the
diagnostic criteria which are highly accurate in our study. The annual
incidence for recurrence of childhood asthma was found similar to the
incidence described in the literature. The high incidence of asthma in
the AU compare to other occupational categories could be attributed to
lower motivation and other possible risk factors such as atopic
background, overexposure to air pollution, obesity and reduced
performance of physical activity. Our findings support that medical
categories policy of the IDF.
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