Does Asthma Increase Childhood Obesity Risk?

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The common belief is that obesity increases asthma risk in children, but a study conducted by researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles suggests it may be the other way around: Young children with asthma may have an increased risk for obesity.

Their study involved 21,130 European children in nine countries who were diagnosed with asthma at age 3 or 4 and followed up to age 8. The researchers determined that, compared to children without asthma, those with asthma had a 66 percent higher risk of becoming obese. Children with asthma who experienced persistent wheezing — those with active asthma — had a 50 percent higher risk of becoming obese than kids without persistent wheezing. Children with asthma who regularly used medication had the strongest obesity risk.

The connection between childhood asthma and obesity is not fully understood. It may be that asthma limits physical activity or that medications used to treat asthma — corticosteroids, for example — raise obesity risk. The findings confirm those of smaller U.S. studies that show asthma ups childhood obesity risk.

Sourced from: European Respiratory Journal