Obesity apparently accounts for a quarter of asthma cases in obese children

Obesity apparently accounts for a quarter of asthma cases in obese children

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Relationship between weight and asthma in obese children

In recent years, various scientific studies have shown that the risk of asthma increases due to being overweight. A recent study now suggests that obesity is responsible for around a quarter of all asthma diseases in overweight children.

More and more children are too fat

More and more overweight people live in Germany. Many children and teenagers are too fat too. Health experts repeatedly warn against underestimating the risks of being overweight. Obesity at a young age can have dangerous health consequences and, among other things, increase the risk of asthma in children.

Numerous illnesses could be avoided

A study of health data from more than 500,000 children in the US suggests that obesity accounts for approximately a quarter (23 to 27 percent) of asthma cases in obese children.

As Duke University researchers and National Pediatric Learning Health System (PEDSnet) researchers said in a statement, this could mean that about ten percent of all children between the ages of two and 17 with asthma would have avoided the disease by maintaining a healthy weight can.

“Asthma is the number one chronic disease in children. We cannot prevent some of the causes, such as childhood genetics and viral infections, ”said Jason E. Lang, MD, associate professor of pediatrics at Duke University and lead author of the study.

“Obesity may be the only risk factor for childhood asthma that could be prevented. This is further proof that it is important that children stay active and have a healthy weight. ”

The results of the retrospective study were published in the "Pediatrics" journal.

Analyzes data from over half a million children

To arrive at their results, the researchers analyzed data from 507,496 children or from over 19 million visits to the doctor in six large children's health centers.

The data was entered into a clinical research data network called PEDSnet between 2009 and 2015.

Those who were classified as having asthma had received the diagnosis on two or more doctor's appointments and had also received a prescription, such as for an inhaler.

Lung function tests also confirmed that they had the disease.

Children classified as obese - people with a body mass index (BMI) in the 95th percentile or higher for their age and gender - were 30 percent more likely to develop asthma than healthy-weight peers.

Asthma did not only affect those with obesity. Children who were overweight but not obese (BMI in the 85-94 percentile) also had a 17 percent increased risk of asthma compared to healthy peers.

The researchers calculated the risk of asthma using several models and adjusted risk factors such as gender, age, socioeconomic status and allergies. The results remained similar.

Prevention of overweight from an early age

According to Lang, the study has several limitations. The data was collected during visits to the doctor and not in a controlled clinical study.

According to Lang, more research is needed to prove that obesity and obesity directly lead to changes that contribute to asthma. So far, scientists have not been able to fully explain how and why this happens.

The researchers examined hypotheses that show possible differences in the development of lungs and airways in overweight children and inflammatory changes in the body due to obesity, Lang said.

However, according to the study authors, these and other findings, such as that asthma is often improved through weight loss, suggest that obesity plays a key role or is directly responsible.

"I think it's reasonable to worry about a causal relationship," Lang said.

“It seems that the risk of asthma increases significantly for children who become overweight or obese,” said Lang.

And this significant increase "draws attention to the importance of preventing obesity at an early age". (ad)

Author and source information

Video: Minority Health and Health Disparities Science in Mental Health (September 2022).


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