Background Accumulating evidence suggests, asthma includes many phenotypes with varying clinical and prognostic features. Epidemiological surveys documented a number of environmental risk factors for the development of asthma and interestingly these differ between and within countries, suggesting that the differences may be related with the different distribution of asthma phenotypes. This study aimed to investigate risk factors of current wheezing (CW) and different wheezing phenotypes in elementary school children. Methods Six thousand nine hundred sixty-three 9- to 11-year-old children of a previous multicenter survey where the methodology of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) Phase-II was used were analyzed. Wheezing phenotypes were defined as wheezing with rhinitis (RW), wheezing with rhinoconjunctivitis (RCW), atopic wheezing (AW), non-atopic wheezing (NAW), and frequent wheezing (FW) (>= 4/year wheezing episodes). Results The prevalence of CW was 15.8% and among these, 22.4%, 67.3%, 45.9%, 20.5%, and 79.5% were classified as FW, RW, RCW, AW, and NAW, respectively. History of parental asthma/allergic rhinitis, coexistence of other allergic diseases, presence of mold and dampness in the house lived during the first year of life and maternal smoking in pregnancy were found to be risk factors for most phenotypes (odds ratio (OR) ranged from 1.43 to 3.56). Number of household in the last year (OR = 1.14), prematurity (OR = 2.08), and duration of breastfeeding (OR = 1.02) per additional month were found to be risk factor for FW, AVV, and RCW, respectively. Conclusion Beside common risk factors for the development of asthma and its phenotypes, certain risk factors appeared to play a role in the development of phenotypic characteristics of asthma. These findings support our hypothesis that each phenotype has not only different clinical characteristics but also has different roots. Pediatr Pulmonol. 2011; 46:166-174. (C) 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.