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Increased Risk of Obesity for Children With Asthma

Significantly increased risk of developing obesity in childhood and adolescence for children with asthma

child with asthma inhaler

FRIDAY, Jan. 20, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of developing obesity during childhood and adolescence is increased for children with asthma, according to a study published online Jan. 20 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Zhanghua Chen, Ph.D., from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and colleagues examined the effects of asthma and asthma medication use on the development of childhood obesity among 2,171 non-obese children, aged 5 to 8 years at study enrollment in the Southern California Children's Health Study (CHS). Participants were followed for up to 10 years. The analysis was replicated in an independent sample of 2,684 CHS children followed from age 9.7 to 17.8 years.

The researchers found that after adjustment for confounders, the risk of developing obesity during childhood and adolescence was increased significantly for children with a diagnosis of asthma, compared to children without asthma at baseline (hazard ratio, 1.51). The risk of developing obesity was reduced with use of asthma rescue medications at cohort entry (hazard ratio, 0.57). In the independent cohort, the investigators replicated the significant correlation between asthma history and increased risk of developing obesity.

"Children with asthma may be at higher risk of obesity," the authors write. "Asthma rescue medication use appeared to reduce obesity risk independent of physical activity."

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