Research Supports Role of BMI in Incident Asthma in Children

Dose-response effect seen for BMI; gender difference noted, with larger effect in obese boys

TUESDAY, Nov. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Overweight and obese children have a significantly increased risk of incident asthma, with evidence of a dose-response effect of elevated body mass index (BMI), according to a meta-analysis published online Nov. 12 in Obesity Reviews.

Y.C. Chen, from the National Taiwan University in Taipei, and colleagues reviewed the literature and conducted a meta-analysis using a prospective cohort of pediatric studies that analyzed age- and sex-specific BMI (as a measure of childhood overweight) and the primary outcome of incident asthma.

Based on data from six studies meeting the inclusion criteria, the researchers found that, compared with non-overweight children, overweight children had increased risks of incident asthma (relative risk [RR], 1.19). When comparing obese versus non-obese children, the association was further elevated (RR, 2.02). There was a significant dose-responsiveness of elevated BMI on asthma incidence (P for trend, 0.004). In addition, there was a gender difference noted, with obese boys exhibiting a significantly larger effect than obese girls (RR, boys: 2.47; girls: 1.25), also with a significant dose-dependent effect.

"Our findings support the impact of childhood obesity on incident asthma, and provide information to compel obese children to lose weight," the authors write. "Policy makers for children's health and parents should pay more attention on preventing obesity-associated risk and environments."

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