Background: Since 1995, epidemiologic studies of atopic disorders using the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) questionnaire have been performed in many countries, including the Republic of Korea. The prevalence, burden and risk factors of atopic dermatitis were surveyed in these studies, which helped to enhance their comparability among different areas and age groups, as well as to clarify the nature of atopic dermatitis and other atopic disorders. Methods: From 21 facilities, 8,750 children were enrolled in this cross-sectional study. The data were collected via the Internet using a questionnaire based on the Korean-language version of the ISAAC study format. Results: The prevalence of atopic dermatitis over the previous 12 months was 14.4%. The prevalence in preschool children was significantly higher than in elementary school children. Family history of atopic diseases, diagnosis of allergic conjunctivitis and diagnosis of food allergy were positively associated with atopic dermatitis in both preschool and elementary school children. In addition, raising pets was positively associated with atopic dermatitis in preschool children. In elementary school children, female gender, secondhand smoking, breastfeeding, changing the parents' house to a newly built one during the first year of life, diagnosis of asthma and diagnosis of allergic rhinitis were positively associated with atopic dermatitis. Conclusion: The prevalence of atopic dermatitis in preschool and elementary school children in Korea is similar to that of children in other developing countries. The risk factors for atopic dermatitis are different in preschool and elementary school children. More detailed strategies will be necessary to reduce atopic dermatitis in both age groups.
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