Children with Asthma at Increased Risk of Obesity

Early-onset asthma and wheezing may be risk factors of childhood obesity, according to results from a recent study. 

Researchers evaluated 21,130 non-obese children aged between three and four years old born from 1990 to 2008 in Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the UK with physician-diagnosed asthma, wheezing, and allergic rhinitis. They assessed for incident obesity up to eight years old. 

An asthma diagnosis was associated with a higher risk of obesity by age eight compared to children who were not diagnosed with asthma (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 1.66, 95% CI 1.18–2.33). Children with active asthma (wheeze in the last year and physician-diagnosed asthma) were nearly twice as likely to become obese than children who did not have asthma (aHR 1.98, 95% CI 1.31–3.00). Persistent wheezing was also considered a risk factor for obesity compared to never wheezers (aHR 1.51, 95% CI 1.08–2.09). 

“We care about this issue because asthma affects approximately 6.5 million children – about one in 10 – in the United States,” said study author Lida Chatzi, a preventative medicine professor at the University at Southern California (USC). “It’s a chronic childhood disorder and if it increases the risk of obesity, we can advise parents and physicians on how to treat it and intervene to help young children grow up to enjoy healthy, adult lives.” 

Study author Frank Gilliland, a preventative medicine professor at the Keck School of Medicine at USC, said of the findings, “Asthma may contribute to the obesity epidemic. We urgently need to know if prevention and adequate treatment of asthma can reduce the trajectory toward obesity.” 

Poor Management of Asthma Linked to Atrial Fibrillation Risk 

Inflammatory and Comorbid Features of Children Admitted to a PICU for Status Asthmaticus 

Acceleration of BMI in Early Childhood and Risk of Sustained Obesity

Sources: European Respiratory JournalEurekAlert