To T, Vydykhan TN, Dell S, Tassoudji M, Harris JK. J Pediatr. 2004;144:162–168
Purpose of the Study.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between obesity and asthma.
A population-based sample of Canadian schoolchildren.
Baseline data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth were used in this cross-sectional study. The investigators included 11 199 children aged 4 to 11 years whose biological mothers reported data on asthma, height, and weight. Body mass index was categorized, and obesity was defined as a body mass index in the ≥85th percentile. Children with asthma had parents who reported the diagnosis, and they took prescribed inhalants, had wheezing or an attack in the previous year, or had their activities limited by asthma. Multiple logistic regression was used.
The prevalence of asthma was 9.9%. Maternal history of asthma was a risk factor for asthma among all children. Single-child status and maternal depression were risk factors for girls. The odds ratio for asthma, comparing highest and lowest body-mass-index categories, was 1.02 (99% confidence interval: 0.70, 1.46) for boys and 1.06 (99% confidence interval: 0.67, 1.69) for girls.
This study suggests that there is no statistical association between obesity and asthma among 4- to 11-year-old Canadian children.
This article addresses a highly contentious issue, focusing on the possible association between obesity and asthma, which has been investigated in both pediatric and adult populations. Both asthma and obesity are common chronic conditions, and in recent years, the prevalence of both of these conditions has increased in North America. Although a number of published studies have documented a positive association between obesity and asthma prevalence and incidence in adults, results from pediatric studies have not been consistent. There has been no clear explanation or consensus for this discrepancy. In this investigation, To and colleagues did not find a significant statistical association between obesity and asthma, but they did find that the single-most important risk factor for asthma was a maternal history of asthma, which has been a common, consistent finding in other pediatric asthma studies. Additional studies in pediatric populations addressing this issue will likely continue and hopefully will help to resolve whether there is a real association between obesity and asthma in children.