6.7.2 Percentage of Indigenous children aged 6 to 11 years with asthma and allergies, by Indigenous identity, Canada, 2012

First Nations Métis Inuit
Asthma 19.6 16 8
Allergies 19.1 19 10.7

Note: Excludes persons living on Indian reserves or settlements.

Source: CICH graphic created using data adapted from Statistics Canada. Table 577-0005 – Aboriginal Peoples Survey, long-term health problems (self-reported) by Aboriginal identity and sex, population aged 6 to 11 years, Canada, provinces and territories, occasional.

In 2012, one in five (20%) First Nations children aged 6 to 11 years were reported to have asthma. One in five children (19%) had allergies.

16% of Métis children aged 6 to 11 years had asthma and 19% had allergies.

Fewer Inuit children had allergies and asthma – 8% had asthma and 11% had allergies.

Asthma is considered a serious health problem for Indigenous children, with prevalence rates between 6-14%.1 Indigenous children may be at increased risk of respiratory diseases due to overcrowding; inadequately constructed, poorly ventilated, or poorly maintained housing; presence of mold; and exposure to cigarette smoke and other indoor air contaminants, such as wood stove combustion products.2 However, due to limited access to asthma specialists in Indigenous communities, Indigenous children may be less likely to be diagnosed or receive treatment for asthma or other respiratory infections like bronchitis, which are often difficult to distinguish from asthma.2

1Douglas, M.L., McGhan, S.L., Tougas, D., Fenton, N., Sarin, C., Latycheva, O., & Befus, A.D. (2013). Asthma education programs for First Nations children: An exemplar of the knowledge-to-action framework. Canadian Respiratory Journal, 20(4), 295-300.
2Kovesi, T., Giles, B.L., & Pasterkamp. H. (2012). Long-term management of asthma in First Nations and Inuit children: A knowledge translation tool based on Canadian paediatric asthma guidelines, intended for use by front-line health care professionals working in isolated communities. Paediatrics Child Health, 17(7), e46-e64.