Association between obesity and asthma in US children and adolescents

J Asthma. 2009 Sep;46(7):642-6 Ahmad N, Biswas S, Bae S, Meador KE, Huang R, Singh KP. Department of Pediatrics, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS, USA.

BACKGROUND: To explore the association between obesity and asthma in US children and adolescents with adjustment of other structural and behavioral factors.

METHOD: Prevalence and associated risk factors of asthma were explored in 102,273 children and adolescents in the National Survey of Children's Health (2003-2004). Subgroup analysis was performed for subjects of 0-6 year-old, 7-12 year-old, and 13-17 year-old. Crude and adjusted odds ratios for the potential risk factors were examined in univariate and multivariate logistic regressions.

RESULTS: The overall prevalence of obesity was 24.5% and that of asthma was 12.5%. The adjusted odds ratio of asthma with obesity remains significantly bigger than 1 for children in the 7-12 and the 13-17 year-old age-groups. Gender and race were significantly associated with asthma in all age groups. The two parent family structure showed significant protectiveness against asthma with children in the 0-6 year-old age group. Poverty was positively associated with asthma in the 7-12 years old age group. Having a smoker in the household increased the odds of asthma by 29% and 23.5% in the 0-6 and 13-17 year-old age-groups, respectively. Higher education level of the parents and access to healthcare showed positive association with asthma in the 13-17 year-old age group.

CONCLUSION: Gender and race were significantly associated with asthma. In the 13-17 year-old age-groups, obesity, household education level, healthcare coverage, and household smoking were positively associated with asthma. Further studies should characterize how the family structure and household education level influence childhood asthma in 0-6 and 13-17 year-old age-groups respectively.

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