surveyed inner-city population (n = 723), the prevalence of asthma/bronchitis was assessed whereas chronic airways obstruction was assessed by pulmonary function tests in a sample of respondents.

Prevalence of Respiratory Symptoms in Northern and Central Italy (Po Delta and Pisa Study). Four cross-sectional general population surveys were carried out in residents of Northern and Central Italy between the late 1980s and early 1990s for purposes of assessing the frequency of respiratory symptoms and pulmonary disease in populations living in an urban and in a rural area that were characterized by different levels of outdoor air pollution.

Respiratory Symptoms in Elderly Chinese Living in Hong Kong. In the early 1990s, an age stratified sample of elderly (≥ 70 years) Chinese men and women was studied (n = 2,032). Standardized questionnaires about participants’ lung health were completed, and the prevalence of various respiratory symptoms as well as several pulmonary diseases was assessed.

Swiss Study of Air Pollution and Lung Diseases in Adults (SAPALDIA). This is a multicenter cohort study that has examined the association between exposure to air pollutants and respiratory symptoms in adults residing in 8 areas throughout Switzerland. This study was initiated in 1991, and nearly 10,000 subjects completed a standardized baseline questionnaire on respiratory health and attended a health examination.

Trends in COPD in U.K. Women and Men. Data from the Group Practice Research Database (GPRD) were used for purposes of examining trends in the prevalence of COPD in British residents between 1990 and 1997. The GPRD is a large computerized database that included data from more than 3 million patients who had been seen in more than 500 primary care practices. Over the period under study, the annual prevalence rates of COPD increased in women (0.8% 1990; 1.4% 1997) as well as in men (1.3% 1990; 1.6% 1997).

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