The paper presents the results of a study conducted into the relationship between dwelling characteristics and occupant activities with the respiratory health of resident women and children in Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR). Lao is one of the least developed countries in south-east Asia with poor life expectancies and mortality rates. The study, commissioned by the World Health Organisation, included questionnaires delivered to residents of 356 dwellings in nine Districts in Lao PDR over a five month period (December 2005April 2006), with the aim of identifying the association between respiratory health and indoor air pollution, in particular exposures related to indoor biomass burning. Adjusted odds ratios were calculated for each health outcome separately using binary logistic regression. After adjusting for age, a wide range of symptoms of respiratory illness in women and children aged 1-4 years were positively associated with a range of indoor exposures related to indoor cooking, including exposure to a fire and location of the cooking place. Among women, nulldust always inside the housenull and smoking were also identified as strong risk factors for respiratory illness. Other strong risk factors for children, after adjusting for age and gender, included dust and drying clothes inside. This analysis confirms the role of indoor air pollution in the burden of disease among women and children in Lao PDR. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.