Determinants of lung health across the life course in sub-Saharan Africa.

01 Sep 2020


LUNG HEALTH ACROSS THE life course is influenced by factors affecting airway and alveolar development and growth during antenatal and perinatal periods, throughout childhood and adolescence, and into adulthood. Lung function trajectories are set in early life and childhood deficits may predispose to non-communicable respiratory diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, in later years. Potential risk factors are common in many sub-Saharan African (sSA) countries; adverse antenatal environments cause growth restriction and prematurity; HIV and respiratory infections, including TB are common; exposure to air pollution is widespread, including household air pollution from biomass fuel use, traffic-related pollution in rapidly expanding cities, and tobacco smoke exposure. Multiple disadvantages experienced in early life require an integrated approach that addresses reproductive, maternal and child health. Public health strategies need to tackle multiple risk factors, emphasising Universal Health Coverage, to maximise lung health in the world´s poorest, most vulnerable populations. This review explores potential determinants of lung health across the life course. Due to the extensive topic and wide range of related literature, we prioritised more recent citations, especially those from sSA, focusing on risk factors for which there is most information, and which are most prevalent in the region.


Resource information

Type of resource
Peer-reviewed article
Rylance S, Masekela R, Banda NPK, Mortimer K