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High BMI Up to Age 4 Does Not Impact School-Age Asthma Risk

No increased risk if BMI normalized by age 7, but high BMI at age 7 is risk factor for asthma

MONDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Having a high body mass index (BMI) in the first four years of life does not impact asthma risk at age 8 for those whose BMI normalizes by age 7 years, according to a study published online Dec. 19 in Pediatrics.

Jessica Öhman Magnusson, from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues investigated the correlation between high BMI and BMI changes during the first seven years of life and the risk of asthma and allergic sensitization at age 8 years. A birth cohort was followed for eight years, and data were collected on environmental exposures, health outcomes, height, and weight. Analyses were performed on 2,075 children who had weight, height, and asthma data available at age 8 years.

The investigators found that there was an association between a high BMI (≥85th percentile) at ages 1, 4, and/or 7 years and an increased risk of asthma at age 8 years. However, for children who had a high BMI at 12 and/or 18 months or at 4 years, whose BMI normalized by age 7, there was no significant association with asthma. Children with a high BMI at age 7 years had an increased risk, irrespective of their earlier weight. Children with a high BMI at age 7 also had an increased risk of sensitization to inhalant allergens.

"High BMI during the first four years of life does not increase the risk of asthma at school age among children who have reached normal weight by age 7 years," the authors write.

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